This is even as armed operatives of the Service again stormed a second house in Abuja believed to belong to the former minister in their desperate bid to arrest him.
They had earlier in the afternoon invaded his first house in the Maitama District of the nation’s capital, but could not find him as he had reportedly gone to pick his children from school. They were said to have tried to force their way in to arrest the former minister.
In the latest siege on another property, also in the Maitama District, the operatives were said to have beaten up some private guards for refusing them entry.
The spokesperson of the SSS, Marylyn Ogar, confirmed that the operatives visited Mr. El-Rufai’s second house to arrest him, but denied that anyone was beaten.
“I hate cheap blackmail,” Ms. Ogar told Premium Times on telephone. “We went to the first place, nobody was beaten up. How will we go to the second place and beat people up?”
She explained that the SSS got an arrest warrant demanded by Mr. El-Rufai, but could not find him to personally serve him the document.
“We extended a friendly invitation to him,” the SSS spokesperson said. “He was invited honourably to come and make some explanations about the comments attributed to him.
“He said he wanted an arrest warrant. We have now obtained that from a competent court and we are wondering why he is running.
“We want to serve it on him. Or is there any Nigerian that is above the law?
“The president has said his ambition is not worth any Nigerian’s blood. So why will anyone else be making provocative statements?”
The manhunt for the former minister followed his refusal to honour an invitation from the SSS on Thursday.
He cited his pending suit against the Service over his detention in a hotel in Awka during the Anambra State Governorship last November 16 as the reason for refusing to honour the invitation.
Mr. El-Rufai also insisted on seeing a warrant of arrest before he could go to the SSS office.
The invitation of the APC chief was in connection with his remarks at a conference in Abuja on Wednesday that there might be violence if the 2015 general elections were not credible.
Meanwhile, Mr. El-Rufai, in statement by his media advisor, Muyiwa Adekeye, on Friday, confirmed that armed SSS officials stormed his home in Abuja following his rejection of the attempt by the organization to compel him to report at their office without a valid warrant.
The statement said the former minister had on Thursday firmly told the Director General of SSS that he would be exercising his right not to go to the SSS offices except a warrant mandates him and offered to meet the SSS officials in his home or office.
“The armed invasion of his house is a clear indication that the SSS imagines itself as an agency immune from respecting fundamental rights, behaviour akin to a gathering of toughs before whom every citizen must quake,” the statement said.
“The SSS agents did not produce any warrant to back their invasion of his premises.
“The assault on El-Rufai’s house continues a sorry tradition of serial violation of his rights by the SSS which has arrested him at airports and hotels.
“The most recent was the action of the SSS in violating his right to freedom of movement in Awka during the Anambra elections. Without any just cause or formal charge, the Directorate of State Security Services (SSS) had unlawfully detained El Rufai, the Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the premises of Finotel Hotel, Akwa, Anambra State, from the 15th day of November, 2013 to the 16th day of November, 2013.”
The statement said during the period, Mr. El-Rufai was not only restricted to the hotel, he was denied access to his congregational prayer as a devout Muslim, and kept incommunicado without access to anyone and or the press.
It stated that in order to remedy the flagrant violation of his fundamental rights as enshrined in sections 35, 39, 40 and 41 of the Constitution, the former minister sued the SSS, seeking eight reliefs, including an injunction to restrain the SSS from further infringing on his fundamental rights.