A former media aide to ex-presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan at separate times, Dr. Doyin Okupe, says the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has started what he describes as “media trial.”
Okupe said the EFCC had released a press briefing, yesterday, alleging that he received N750million, whereas the issue was never mentioned when he was arraigned in court, last Wednesday.
The politician made this remark via his Twitter handle, @doyinokupe, yesterday.
It may be recalled that Okupe was arraigned in January for alleged N702million money laundering, with the trial adjourned until February 27.
The January 14 arraignment had been on 59 counts of money laundering and criminal diversion of funds, preferred against Okupe before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja, alongside two companies, Value Trust Investment Ltd and Abrahams Telecoms Ltd.
Last Wednesday, the EFCC opened its case against Okupe before Justice Ojukwu, and was alleged to have collected the money from the Office of the National Security Adviser “for doing nothing.”
At the Wednesday trial, the first prosecution witness, Osas Azonabor, an EFCC operative who was led in evidence by the Counsel to the EFCC, Ibrahim Audu, told the court that in 2016, “the EFCC received an intelligence report that some individuals were paid by the Office of the NSA for doing nothing.”
Azonabor said that, in the course of investigations, it learnt that the first defendant, Okupe, was a beneficiary and that the EFCC wrote the Office of the NSA asking for proof of payment vouchers.
According to him, after analysing the payment vouchers, it was realised that cash payment of N50million was made into Okupe’s account, as stated in the voucher of April 8, 2014.
He also stated that another cash payment of N6million was found to have been made to Okupe on April 2, 2014.
The witness further told the court that EFCC’s investigation found N50million paid into the bank account of Value Trust Investment Limited, with Okupe as a director; and that another N35million was paid into the account of Abraham Telecoms Nig Limited, to which Okupe was a signatory.
Detailing Okupe’s explanation about the money, Azonabor told the court: “He said that he was the SSA to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan from 2012 and that he was on a monthly salary of N835,000, paid to him by the SGF.
“The defendant also said that he received N10million monthly for 24 months from the office of the NSA and that the money was reduced to N5million monthly between January and May 2015.”
Azonabor said that Okupe told the EFCC that the money was for “special services,” but when he was asked to explain what it meant; Okupe said that part of the money was used for the sponsorship of a national television programme, Insight.
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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