Avengers : Confusion In Bayelsa Over DSS’ Arrest Of Publisher | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Avengers : Confusion In Bayelsa Over DSS’ Arrest Of Publisher

DSS, Bayelsa; Boko Haram
Posted: Jul 21, 2016 at 9:50 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Confusion has ensued in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, following the arrest of Chief James Abiri ,the publisher of a local tabloid, Weekly Source, by operatives the Department of State Security (DSS).

Report said that Abiri was handcuffed and taken away from his office in Yenagoa at about 11am on Thursday by the operatives who carried out the operation in three vehicles , whose registration numbers are SAG 391 AA, PBT 480 AA and Lagos 193 DN.

The armed operatives numbering nine ,who identified themselves as DSS officials were said to have created panic among the residents following the commando style with which they carried out the arrest.

They were said to have kept mute refusing to disclose the reason Abiri was being arrested.

The arrest may have bordered on reports about the activities of the militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).

But one of DSS operatives reportedly said that the publisher was needed to answer questions on national security adding that the operation was sanctioned by the headquarters of the DSS in Abuja.

A source and colleague of Abiri said other local publishers were around the office of Abiri when the fierce-looking and unfriendly secret agents stormed the place.

The source who spoke in confidence said when the suspicious vehicles arrived the area, Abiri whose office was located upstairs of the building, was at a canteen.

He said: “When the three vehicles parked, one of the secret agents, came to his office but could not find Abiri. Others were waiting in the vehicles.

“The operative came to us and said he was looking for the publisher of Weekly Source. We didn’t know he had a pistol. Following they way he inquired about Abiri, we thought he was one of his news sources.

“We innocently went to call Abiri. But on sighting him, the operative immediately called other operatives who came and handcuffed our colleague. They immediately took him to his office but would not allow anybody to come close to them.

“They refused to talk to us but one of them later said they came from Abuja to arrest on issues of national security. They ransacked his office, carted away some documents and took Abiri along with them”.

He said the suspected detectives were anxiously looking for the mobile phone of the journalist but could not find it.

He said the operatives initially mistook the office of a popular Yenagoa-based lawyer for Abiri’s office.

“They had already ransacked and disorganized the office of the lawyer when they noticed it was not Abiri’s office. The lawyer called the police who came, exchanged pleasantries with the secret agents and left. They apparently know them”, the source said.

It was gathered that the way and manner the operation was conducted made some security operatives working in Yenagoa to think that the journalist had been kidnapped.

The umbrella body of local publishers in the state, Bayelsa Federated Newspaper Publishers Association (BAFENPA), confirmed the incident.

Mr. Easteday Ayibatari , Chairman of BAFENPA, said they went to the offices of all security agencies in the state including the DSS but could not trace his whereabouts.

He said the DSS in the state said no security agent could come to the state and effect any arrest without notifying the state’s office.

He said: “We are worried of his whereabouts. We have lodged a complain at the Ekeki Police station, Yenagoa. We have never seen this kind of arrest before”.

Ayibatari called on the police to carry out thorough investigation to locate the whereabouts of Abiri.

He said they were further worried over the refusal of the secret agents to properly introduce themselves and show their identity cards.

But a security agent who spoke in confidence confirmed that Abiri was taken away by the DSS and asked the local publishers to direct their inquiries to the senior officers of the DSS.