Senator representing Abia South, Enyinnaya Abaribe, on Wednesday narrated on the floor of the Senate how he was arrested and detained for days by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The embattled senator explained that he will continue to speak truth to power despite his arrest.
Recall that the senator was arrested on June 22 by DSS operatives for his alleged links with the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Abaribe, who was one of the sureties for the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was later released after days with the operatives.
Coming under order 43 of the Senate rule, the senator gave his account of the incident to his colleagues.
“I have been inundated by Nigerians and my colleagues who were worried about the reports regarding my arrest by men of the DSS. So today Mr President, I crave your indulgence and those of my colleagues to state that on Friday 22nd of June I was arrested at the gate of the Hilton hotel while the International Press Institute congress was going on.
“I was taken to the office of the DSS by 11:30 in the morning and subsequently by 5pm I was taken to my house for a search of my residence. When we got to my house, it was at the point I was formally informed of why I was arrested. The search warrant that was used stated clearly that I’m being accused of sponsoring a proscribed organisation, IPOB, and so that the search was to look for evidence of such.
“After the search, which took about five to six hours, I was taken to the office of DSS at about 12 midnight and now kept there. The late musician that Nigerians know very well called Fela said ‘when you are inside, you are in inside world, when you are outside, you are in outside world.’
“So when I was the inside world, the first person that received me and who helped my transition from freedom to incarceration was the former governor of Benue state, Governor Gabriel Suswam. He had been arrested on Tuesday, I was arrested on Friday. As at the time I was released last Tuesday, he told me he had not been told why he was arrested.
“But Mr President, I have been released through the intervention of all well-meaning Nigerians led by you and the leadership of the Senate. I’m very glad and grateful. I want to use this opportunity to thank all Nigerians who were very concerned who did everything to secure my release.”
“Let me also say Mr President that nothing has been found on the allegation that was made. Up till this moment, I am still on bail, administrative bail by the DSS and so every morning I have to report to the DSS but these things are going to be challenged [in court]. What everybody has asked me is that where do we go from here?”
On his next move, Abaribe vowed to continue to tell the truth, saying that supporting an inefficient president would only amount to him not been patriotic.
Though he did not mention his name, the senator appeared to be directing his statement at President Muhammadu Buhari, who he has always been critical of.
“I want to crave your indulgence to tell every Nigerian where I want to go. I will do it by giving you Mr President and my distinguished colleagues, a quotation from the 26th president of the United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt.
“That quotation reads ‘patriotism means to stand by the country, it does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, same to the degree to which a president stands by the country. It is patriotic to support a president if so far as he efficiently serve the country. It is unpatriotic to not to oppose a president who fails to stand by his duty to do well for the country. And it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth whether about the president or anyone else.’
“I will continue to tell the truth, I will continue to stand by this country, I will continue to say that no person is bigger than this country,” he said.