by ‘Jola Sotubo
The former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasir el-Rufai, has finally been released by the Department of State Security Services.
Mallam el-Rufai was accompanied to the headquarters of the security agency yesterday by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and Senator Chris Ngige.
This comes after attempts were made by operatives of the SSS to arrest the former minister after which he voluntarily handed himself in.
Premium Times reports:
The former minister, who voluntarily walked into the agency’s headquarters at about 9 a.m on Monday, was released after midnight.
“Mallam Nasir El-Rufai left the SSS premises at 12.35a.m today after more than 15 hours,” the former minister’s media advisor, Muyiwa Adekeye, tweeted at 12.40 this morning.
It is not clear why the interrogation of the opposition All Progressive Congress chieftain took that long.
Both the SSS and Mr. El-Rufai were not available for comment at the time of filing this report at 5.28 this morning.
He was accompanied by the Rivers State governor, Chibuike Amaechi, and a serving senator, Chris Ngige. Mr. Amaechi, who was also allowed access into the SSS office, later left at about 12 p.m, while Mr. Ngige left two hours later.
One of Mr. El-Rufai’s wives, who accompanied him, also left subsequently as she was disallowed access to her husband, the former minister’s spokesperson had said.
“His wife left because she was just kept within the premises but not where he is,” Mr. Adekeye had told this paper.
Mr. El-Rufai’s lawyer, A. U. Mustapha, however remained with the former minister until his release. The SSS said the former minister’s comment about possible violence in the coming elections was “provocative” and warned that those making inflammatory remarks might be prosecuted.
But Mr. el-Rufai has denied any wrongdoing, saying his position was only based on Nigeria’s electoral history.
Mr. el-Rufai also insisted on seeing a valid warrant of arrest before he could report to the SSS office. Mr. el-Rufai himself has consistently said he would resist ploys by the SSS to silence him.
“Mallam el-Rufai will not be silenced,” the former minister had said through Mr. Adekeye, Friday.
“He will continue to do his patriotic duty of challenging INEC and the security agencies to guarantee the climate for free and fair elections in Nigeria by desisting from partisanship and the embrace of impunity.”