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Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the last April election, General Muhammadu Buhari, has demanded the immediate release of former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who the State Security Services (SSS) arrested in Abuja yesterday.

El-Rufai had travelled with General Muhammadu Buhari to the United Kingdom on Sunday, June 26, 2011, for a presentation the former Head of State made at Chatham House, London, and a visit to the House of Commons to give his reflections on the 2011 election.

He was, however, arrested on Saturday morning while returning from the United Kingdom at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

In a statement to Sunday Sun in Abuja, spokesman to General Buhari, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said: 'El-Rufai was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, upon arrival from London without being told the reasons for his arrest, and was whisked away to the SSS Headquarters.'

Buhari said he condemned 'this brazen act of intimidation, harassment and flagrant violation of citizens' right in a democratic atmosphere'.

'It only shows there are more people in our country who know how to win by hook and crook than those who know how to make proper use of their victory,' Buhari said. He also said that hounding innocent citizens into detention in less than a month in office, having failed to rise to the security challenges facing the nation, shows a regime that does not understand what its priorities should be.

Buhari called for the immediate release of el-Rufai from unjust incarceration by the SSS whom he said could then proceed to prefer whatever charges they have against him in court if he had committed any offence known to the laws of the land.

'But to keep him in gaol without any charges would only cast the administration in the mould of a vindictive regime launching a wave of political repression because it is jittery,' Buhari stated.