Nigeria's ex-minister arrested on return from London: party

2nd July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Nigeria's secret police on Saturday arrested an outspoken former minister on his return from London, a spokesman for his party said.

"Malam Nasir El-Rufai was arrested this morning by the SSS (State Security Service) at the Abuja airport," Yinka Odumakin of the opposition Congress for Progessive Change (CPC), told AFP.

El-Rufai was arrested after returning from a private visit to London, he added.

The SSS confirmed the arrest later Saturday.

It had taken the decision "following Mallam El-Rufai's recent articles in the cyber and print media which have been considered by well meaning Nigerians to be inciting, inflammatory and grossly misleading".

The SSS cited a recent article in local newspaper Thisday on a recently passed freedom of information law.

The piece had misinformed "the public with mischievously orchestrated data with the intent of causing disaffection among the populace thereby subverting government," said the SSS.

El-Rufai served as Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister under ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, but fled Nigeria after he was accused of corruption over the allocation of lands in Abuja while in office.

He returned to Nigeria last year and joined the opposition CPC, since when he has been an outspoken critic of the government.

Earlier, a CPC statement said that ex-military ruler Mohammadu Buhari, its candidate in the April presidential election, had called for the former minister's immediate release.

"General Buhari condemns this brazen act of intimidation, harassment and flagrant violation of citizens right in a democratic atmosphere," the statement said.

"He therefore calls for the immediate release of El-Rufai from unjust incarceration by the SSS who can then proceed to prefer whatever charges they have against him in court if he has committed any offence known to the laws of the land," it added.

Buhari has himself mounted a legal challenge to his loss to President Goodluck Jonathan in the April vote.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article