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UPDATED: Okupe walks free from EFCC custody

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The former Director-General of the Peter Obi presidential campaign council, Doyin Okupe, has been released by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), following his arrest and transfer by the Department of State Services (DSS).

Okupe, who was apprehended by the DSS at the request of EFCC at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos en route to London for medical treatment, has left the anti-graft agency’s office in Lagos.

The former presidential aide announced his release in a statement on Thursday and described the development as part of the occupational hazard in public office.

According to the statement I was arrested and detained at the MMIA, Lagos this morning, 12th January 2023 on my way to the UK for medicals; years after my passport had been withheld by the FHC Abuja. I just left the EFCC office where Senior Officers in Lagos and Abuja apologized to me for the error. OCCUPATIONAL HAZZARD abi?”.

Okupe, after his arrest, was transferred by the DSS to the EFCC, who requested that the former presidential aide be picked for prosecution.

As gathered, the EFCC was said to have been trailing Okupe, who was the immediate former Director-General of the Peter Obi presidential campaign council, but were unsuccessful after which they contacted the DSS for assistance.

The former presidential aide was apprehended by the secret police at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos while he was about to board a flight to London, United Kingdom (UK).

Okupe’s arrest and transfer to the anti-graft agency were confirmed by DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, through a statement signed and released to newsmen.

Afunanya explained that Okupe was intercepted at the instance of the EFCC and has been handed over to the agency for onward prosecution.

“Doyin Okupe was intercepted by the DSS at Terminal 1 of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos this (Thursday) morning at the instance of the EFCC.

“He has long been handed over to the Commission which requested for the action. Okupe was billed to fly to London via Virgin Atlantic,” the DSS spokesman added.

Before the statement, Tolu Babaleye, the counsel to Okupe, alleged that the DSS personnel during arrests demanded that his client produce documents from Federal High Court Abuja indicating that he has been freed from the case in which he was convicted and paid a fine.

He noted that due to his inability to produce such, the former presidential aide was picked by DSS and whisked away from the airport premises.

The counsel, meanwhile, pleaded to the DSS for the release of Okupe and allow him to leave the country for medical treatment abroad

According to the statement, the information reaching me now is that Dr. Doyin Okupe has been arrested at Lagos Airport by the DSS on his way to London. The reason according to the source is that he was asked to produce evidence that the Federal High Court Abuja has freed him from the case in which he was convicted and paid a fine to the knowledge of the whole world and was allowed to go home.

“When will this harassment stop? Who is after Dr. Doyin Okupe? As of today, the man has no case to answer anywhere,  I hereby demand that the DSS should release my Client immediately as it is a violation of his freedom of movement, right to liberty, and dignity as a human being. This is unfair as the man’s health is fast failing!”

It would be recalled that Okupe resigned barely a month ago after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court in Abuja on December 19, 2022 found him guilty of receiving over N200 million cash from former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, ruling that his action violated the Money Laundering Act.

The court held that Okupe was guilty in counts 34, 35, 36, and 59 and sentenced him to two years imprisonment with an option of a fine.

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