Further clarifications came on Thursday afternoon as for the reason for the arrest of presidential spokesman, Doyin Okupe, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), saying that the Department of State Services (DSS) acted on a 2016 watch list request, to prevent him from travelling outside the country.
Okupe, who resigned last month as the Director General of the Labour Party (LP) Presidential Campaign Council (LP-PCC), who was picked up by the Nigerian secret police, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Thursday morning, has since confirmed his release, which he said came with an apology from the anti-graft agency.
In furtherance of the information, the EFCC said it was in the process of formally lifting the watch list on Okupe, who was actually on his way to London on medical grounds, before his interception by the secret police on Thursday morning, adding that it would now expedite action and remove the Labour Party (LP) chieftain from its watch list.
The veteran politician, who was the spokesman of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) one of the two registered political parties that contested the June 12, 1993 election, and the spokesman of former President Goodluck Jonathan, said because his passport was confiscated on the orders of a court, over his corruption case, which started in 2016, he had not been able to travel abroad for the purpose.
He was eventually let off the hook, after bagging a two-year prison sentence by Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court Abuja, for receiving N200million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, in contravention of the Money Laundering Act, having paid a whopping N13.5million fine instead.
Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman, said in a statement on Thursday: “The Department of State Services, DSS, today, January 12, informed the Commission of the interception of Dr. Doyin Okupe, former presidential adviser, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. The Service acted on a Watch-list request issued on July 18, 2016, over six years before his recent conviction on money laundering charges by the Federal High Court, Abuja. The Commission was in the process of formally lifting the watch-list before his interception and will expedite action in this regard.”
Against the backdrop of the outcries by Tolu Babaleye, Lawyer, Okupe’s lawyer, who condemned what he called “harassment,” the DSS, clarified the reason for the operation, saying the former presidential aide, who was stopped from catching a London flight via Virgin Atlantic, was arrested at the instance of EFCC.