Abaribe’s lawyer: My client was arrested for his opposing views

Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, counsel to Enyinnaya Abaribe, says he believes  his client is being “hunted because of his opposing views like Senators Dino Melaye, Shehu Sani”.

Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) picked up the lawmaker in Abuja on Friday morning.

This was hours after Abaribe, who is chairman of the senate committee on power, steel development and metallurgy, alleged that N30 billion was smuggled into the budget of the ministry of power works and housing.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, the lawyer said Abaribe was accused of arms trafficking and supporting the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

Abaribe stood as a surtee to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, who has not been seen publicly since September.

Kanu is facing an alleged treason trial.

“Our Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, a high-ranking senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was arrested by officers of state security services,” the lawyer said.

“The articulate senator who has contributed a lot to our nation building effort is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This man is a known strong voice of the Igbo nation; hence this is a clamp down on the region.

“His arrest was as shocking as it was curious. As his counsel, I have, long ago, complied with DSS stipulation for meeting with its detainees.”

The lawyer added that a search warrant dated June 22, 2018, was secured by the DSS and that nothing incriminating was found in Abaribe’s house during the search.

He said the DSS operatives seized and took away 27 items.

“All they wanted to see were arms and ammunition or stored bags of ‘Ghana Must Go’ for sponsoring the said IPOB,” he said.

“Unfortunately two of the 27 items include the two handsets of two USA citizens found in the home. One of the laptops taken included that of an educationist containing examination questions slated to be set for students on June 25, 2018.

“All pleas for these questions to be copied were refused. Senator Abaribe, the surety to Nnamadi Kanu, is to appear in court on 26th June 2018, but on 22nd June 2018, Senator Abaribe was arrested and detained incommunicado.”