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Okupe Released by DSS, Says He Was Erroneously Arrested
The immediate-past Director-General of the Labour Party (LP) Presidential Campaign Council, Dr. Doyin Okupe, yesterday stated that his re-arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) on the request of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), was erroneous and should not have happened.
Okupe who was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport yesterday morning, said his passport had long been withheld by the Federal High Court Abuja even before finding him guilty of violating sections of the Money Laundering Act that attracted two and a half years imprisonment.
The former Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan added that the officers of the EFCC in Lagos and Abuja have since apologised for the error they made in his arrest.
Narrating the ordeal on his Twitter handle, Okupe wrote, “I was arrested and detained at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos this morning, January 12, on my way to the UK for medicals, years after my passport was withheld by the FHC, Abuja.
“I just left the EFCC office where the senior and younger officers in Lagos and Abuja apologised to me for the error.”
Querying the action, he asked if it was an occupational hazard.
Operatives of the DSS had arrested Okupe at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos, on his way to London, the United Kingdom.
DSS spokesman, Dr. Peter Afunanya, who confirmed the arrest, had said Okupe’s interception was at the instance of the EFCC and he was handed over to the agency.
He had stated earlier: “Doyin Okupe was intercepted by the DSS at Terminal 1 of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos this morning at the instance of the EFCC.
“He has long been handed over to the EFCC which requested for the action. Okupe was billed to fly to London via Virgin Atlantic.”
It later turned out that it was based on an EFCC watch-list request issued over six years ago.
But the anti-graft agency said it released Okupe soon after because the watch-list request had expired.
EFCC Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said the commission issued the watch-list request on July 18, 2016, over six years before Okupe’s recent conviction on money laundering charges by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Uwujaren, in a statement titled ‘Interception of Doyin Okupe,’ explained: “The 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.”
One of Okupe’s lawyers, Tolu Babaleye, had posted on Facebook that the DSS operatives demanded to see the court processes of the fine he paid on his money laundering case.
“When will this harassment stop? Who is after Dr. Okupe? As of today, the man has no case to answer, I hereby demand that the DSS should release my client immediately as this is a violation of his freedom of movement, right to liberty and dignity of human person. This is unfair as the man’s health is fast failing,” he wrote.