The Department of State Service has denied arresting renowned author and columnist, Dr. Chido Onumah.
It, however, said the Service “engaged” the writer in an “interaction” following what it described as a threat to national security and public order.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunnaya, in Abuja, on Monday.
The statement reads in part, “To set the records right, Onumah was never arrested by the Service.
“He was rather engaged in an interaction during which an act of his capable of undermining public order and national security was explained to him.
“On his arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on 29th September, 2019, it was discovered that Onumah wore a T-shirt with ‘WE ARE ALL BIAFRANS’ inscribed on it.
“With credible intelligence that he might be a subject of mob attack if allowed to go into town in same cloth, the Service invited him and drew his attention to the implications of his probable (un)intended action. “
The service said it strongly believed that an attack on Onumah would have sparked ethno-religious reprisals, with dire consequences for law and order and public safety in the country.
Afunnaya said, “He (Onumah) understood the issues and pledged not to engage in activities that may cause disaffection in Abuja and the country at large.
“He subsequently removed the cloth with the inciting symbols and inscriptions and agreed not to use it.
“The interaction between Onumah and the Service held in a convivial atmosphere. He appreciated the courtesies extended to him.
“Afterwards, the Service arranged for him to go back to his accommodation in town.”
The Service insisted that it acted within the confines of its mandate and only carried out its routine security duty that could have been discharged by a similar agency in any part of the world.
Noting that It was not out of place for concerned security agencies to have sought clarification from a traveller concerning a subject of security interest, the DSS reaffirmed its avowed commitment to the rule of law and protection of citizens and national critical assets.