The lawyer to the detained representative of Abia South Senatorial District, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), has said his client’s allegation of illegal insertion of N30 billion into the budget of the Ministry of Power without his committee’s knowledge was one of the issues that landed him in trouble.
Abaribe was on Friday arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services in Abuja.
Ume accused the DSS operatives who searched Abaribe’s Abuja home on Friday of seizing phones belonging to some visiting Americans who they met in his residence.
The counsel, who addressed newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, claimed the operatives subjected Abaribe’s Abuja home to intense search for over six hours on Friday.
According to him, the operatives have also denied the senator medications, access to his family and his personal physician.
He said the operatives showed him a warrant of arrest, which showed that they were searching Abaribe’s home for links to the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, but added that they discovered nothing incriminating there.
He said Abaribe had been known to maintain robust views on national discourse, which he said made a number of persons uncomfortable.
Ume said: “Yesterday (Friday) in the forenoon hours, our Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, a high-ranking senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was arrested by officers of state security services.
“The articulate senator, who has contributed a lot to our nation building effort, is of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“His arrest was shocking as it was curious.
“As his counsel, I have long ago complied with SSS stipulation for meeting with its detainee.
“I have also requested for a meeting with the Director General of the services (Lawal Daura) to know the reason for his arrest.
“All fell into refusal ears.
“At about 4:45pm, I was alerted that officers of the services were heading to the senator’s residence.
“I had to break my long wait at the SSS H/Q and rushed to the senator’s residence.
“Primarily the search warrant dated 22nd June 2018 focused and searched for arms and ammunition and any other incriminating document, while the alleged crime was aiding and supporting a proscribed body, i.e. IPOB.
“The disparity and excruciating search of all corners and every item in the house lasted for about 5pm till 11:15pm yesterday.
“Of all the 27 items seized and taken away, none could be all they wanted to see in terms of arms and ammunition or stored bags of Ghana-must-go for sponsoring the said IPOB.
“But unfortunately, two of the 27 items include:
a) The two handsets of two USA citizens found in the home.
b) One of the laptops taken included that of an educationist containing examination questions slated to be set for students on the 25th of June 2018. All pleas for these questions to be copied was refused.
“We are worried at the turn of events; Nnamdi Kanu was to appear in court on October 2017, in September, his house was brutally shut down. Senator Abaribe, the surety to Nnamadi Kanu, is to appear in court on 26th June 2018, but on 22nd June 2018, Senator was arrested and detained incommunicado.
a) On 16th June 2017 via a letter to NSA, Senator Ike Ekeweremadu was levied a corrupt officer;
b) On 12th April 2018, Senator Shehu Sani was accused of aiding armed robbers
c) On 24th March 2018, Senator Dino Melaye was accused of aiding bandits
d) On 4th June 2018, Senator Bukola Saraki was accused of aiding armed robbers, who massacred his own people.
e) On 27th February 2017 /2nd march 2017 His Excellency, former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, was clamped down
f) On 22nd June 2018 it is Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe.
“These are certainly against the spirit of partisan politics very dear to our constitution and nation-building process. If in 2014/2015, opposition to PDP were muzzled like this, the advantage the nation gained by unseating a party in power would not have been possible. This man is a known strong voice of the Igbo nation. Hence, this is a clamp down on a region.”