The Benue State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cried out that the Department of State Services (DSS) has taken its State Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom into its custody.
The group claimed that the DSS had invited Iortyom to its office for what it said “was termed a chat with the State Director of the Service”.
The state PDP in a statement on Monday by Adzua Ashongo, Vice Chairman, Benue North East (Zone A) of the PDP said the state governor, Hyacinth Alia may have directed the DSS to take Iortyom into custody.
The party said “with the recent remarks by the incumbent Governor Hyacinth Alia, it is difficult not to link him with this sudden invitation of Mr Iortyom by the DSS and his, possibly, imminent detention”.
Narrating events relating to Iortyom, the party said “earlier today, the Department of State Services (DSS) invited the Benue State Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for what was termed a chat with the State Director of the Service.
“Though the reason for the invitation was not stated, I, along with the Media Consultant of the party, C T Hwande and representative of the State Legal Adviser, accompanied Mr Iortyom to honour the invitation.
“We arrived at the DSS headquarters in Makurdi at exactly 12:47pm and were warmly received by one Danlami Imam, who we later discovered is in charge of the Political Desk of the Command.
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“Ten minutes after our arrival, Mr Imam returned to us and asked us to leave as the Director who demanded for the invitation of the PDP Spokesman was busy with other official engagements and would not be seeing us immediately. He said he would not want to make it look like Bemgba Iortyom was being detained by the Service.
“We left the DSS premises and barely 20 minutes after we arrived the Party Secretariat, there was a call from the same Mr Imam requesting that we returned to the command headquarters, indicating that, the Director was now available and ready to meet with Mr Iortyom.
“Strange as this sounded, but as a law abiding citizen, Bemgba Iortyom drove back to the DSS headquarters, this time, the State Treasurer of the PDP, Philip Bem Gbe had joined us.
“As soon as we arrived, at about 2:11pm, two gentlemen walked up to us, claiming to be from the office of the Director and took Bemgba Iortyom away. All efforts by us to accompany him failed as we were told that only Bemgba Iortyom was invited by the Command.
“And up until 6:17pm when we were asked to leave the premises of the command this evening, the whereabouts of Mr Bemgba Iortyom were not known; neither were we told if he had been detained or not.
“And because we were not allowed access to him, one can not say, for sure, if his invitation was as a result of a petition written against him or a complaint from any quarter or better still, was in a friendly chat with the Commands Director.
“One thing is however certain; it is not common for the DSS to invite anyone without a reason, let alone, the Publicity Secretary of an opposition party, and someone in the quality of Bemgba Iortyom who fearlessly bares his mind as an opposition spokesperson and remains one of the most vocal voices against the administration of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in Benue State.
“And with the recent remarks by the incumbent Governor Hyacinth Alia, it is difficult not to link him with this sudden invitation of Mr Iortyom by the DSS and his, possibly, imminent detention”.