By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€” THE President of the Hope for Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC), a Non- governmental organization (NGO), Comrade Sunny Ofehe, has petitioned the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Madueke, raising an alarm that his name was included in the State Security Service (SSS) wanted list shortly after he arrived Nigeria from his base in the Netherlands to witness the hand over of weapons by militant leader, Mr. Victor Ben Ebikabowei, aka, Boyloaf, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Comrade Ofehe, whose 60-year-old mother was mysteriously murdered in October 2007 by suspected assassins in Benin City, said he was detained by SSS officials at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport last week, while travelling back to the Netherlands where he is based.
He expressed fears that his life may be in danger due to his efforts at ensuring that the militant leaders in the Niger Delta accepted the amnesty programme of the federal government.
According to him, â€œ as part of helping the government achieve one of the Seven-Point agenda, which is the Niger Delta, I have visited the region on a regular basis engaging stakeholders on the need to shun militancy and tread the part of dialogue in achieving an enduring peace that will usher in a sustainable development.
â€œIn order to critically study the governmentâ€™s amnesty program granted to willing militants and also witness the handover of weapons by the repentant militant leaders, led by erstwhile MEND commander, Mr. Victor Ben Ebikabowei, a.k.a Boyloaf, in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, I needed to visit Nigeria.
â€œOn August18, 2009, I arrived Nigeria via Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, aboard an Air France flight. We touched down at exactly 4:00 pm local time. In the cause of going through the normal immigration routine control, I was asked to step aside.
â€œI was immediately handed over to an SSS officer, named Mr. Sule, who started a preliminary interrogation on what my purpose of visit was and when was the last time I visited Nigeria. I explained my purpose and told him I was in Nigeria in May 2009 at the invitation of the countryâ€™s Vice President, H.E. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
â€œHe waited for me to get my luggage and took me to their office for further interrogation.
I was told that there is an alert on my name from the SSS headquarters in Abuja to apprehend me for interrogation at any entry point in the country.
â€œI was taken to the SSS boss at the airport, named Mr. Laasan Baba, who later approved my release after an interactive session with him. I was asked to make a statement and I left the airport at exactly 9:00pm, five hours after arriving the airport.
â€œI must state that I was treated well by the SSS officers involved in the cause of the interrogation.â€
The petitioner urged the Minister to investigate why his name was on SSS list, adding that â€œ my mother was killed mysteriously and I am yet to find the killers of my mother.
â€œThat is why I am appealing that the matter be investigated and my name removed from that list to stop future embarrassmentâ€.