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JUST IN: EFCC To Remove Okupe From Watchlist

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said it will remove the former Director-General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Dr. Doyin Okupe, from its watchlist following his arrest by the Department of State Security Service at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Thursday.

An impeccable source at the EFCC confirmed to our correspondent that Okupe had been on the EFCC watchlist for about six years since 2016.

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“Dr. Okupe is one of the individuals, groups, or organizations that required close surveillance, for legal reasons. In his case, he has been on our watchlist since 2016.”

Confirming the report in an interview with our correspondent, while reacting to Okupe’s arrest by the DSS and his subsequent transfer to the EFFC, the anti-graft agency’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said the EFCC would take immediate action to remove the former presidential aide from its watchlist.

READ ALSO: Why Okupe Was Rearrested – DSS

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Uwujaren said, “Concerning the interception of Doyin Okupe; the DSS, today, January 12, informed the Commission of the interception of Dr. Okupe, former presidential adviser, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

“The Service acted on a watchlist 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.”

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The PUNCH reports that the DSS cited its cooperation with the EFCC as the reason for Okupe’s rearrest earlier today.

Responding to an inquiry by our correspondent, DSS spokesperson, Dr. Peter Afunanya, said, “Okupe was intercepted by the DSS at Terminal 1 of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos this morning at the instance of the EFCC. He has long been handed over to the Commisson which requested for the action. Okupe was billed to fly to London via Virgin Atlantic.”

Recall that Okupe was December 19, 2022, sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for breaching the Money Laundering Act.

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According to the EFCC that engineered the arrest, Okupe was charged to court for receiving N702 million in illegal payment from public funds meant to procure arms to fight insurgency in 2019. He was convicted of the offence by the Federal High Court.

READ ALSO: Okupe Breaks Silence On His Arrest By DSS

One of the charges read, “That you, Dr Doyin Okupe, being the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan from July 2012 to May 2015 and being the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, and a signatory to the bank account of Abrahams Telecoms Limited, on or October 3, 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, directly took possession or control of the sum of N35million, transferred to the account of Abrahams Telecoms Ltd from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria, purporting to be for special services when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity.”

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Justice Ojukwu, in a judgment, held that Okupe, also the former Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on media to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan was found guilty of contravening Sections 16(1)&(2) of the Money Laundering Act, for accepting cash payments without going through a financial institution, in excess of the threshold allowed under the Act.

 

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Court Stops PDP From Suspending, Expelling Governor Wike

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Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court Abuja on Monday ordered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to take any action aimed at suspending or expelling Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike from the party.

The order was made upon an ex parte motion filed by Wike against the entire hierarchy of the PDP.

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Respondents in the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/139/2023, dated and filed on February 2, are the PDP, its National Working Committee, National Executive Committee, National Chairman of the party Dr Iyorchia Ayu; PDP National Secretary Senator Samuel Anyanwu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

READ ALSO: Elections: Cultists Masking As Party Support Groups In Rivers, Says Wike

By the motion, the applicant is praying for an order to maintain the status quo and stay all actions in this matter relating to the threat to suspend or expel him, pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons.

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Wike also asked for an order of the Court granting him leave to serve the motion on notice, originating motion, and all other processes of the Court in the suit on the 1st to 5th Respondents by substituted means which is pasting all the said processes of Court on the PDP National Secretariat.

The Rivers state Governor equally sought an order deeming such service as made above as proper service.

Upon reading the affidavit in support of the motion exparte deposed to by one Precious Ikpe and filed at the Court Registry and after hearing, the court granted the reliefs sought.

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FG Pledges To Increase Minimum Wage Of Workers

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, says the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is committed to improving the minimum wage of workers to boost productivity.

Mustapha, who was the special guest of honour at the inauguration of Hassan Sumonu’ Court, said this in Abuja on Monday.

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He said that the Buhari-led administration is concerned about improving the welfare of public service and had paid the arrears of retired Airways workers.

READ ALSO: Advise Buhari To Release Nnamdi Kanu, Ohanaeze Replies Malami

On the inauguration, he said that the two-storey building was a delight for the NLC and the entire workers.

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”This achievements and legacies are for the Nigerian people.

”I commend the outgoing NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, for delivering the edifice that will yield additional income to the Congress,” NAN quoted him as saying.

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Advise Buhari To Release Nnamdi Kanu, Ohanaeze Replies Malami

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The Ohanaeze Ndigbo socio-cultural organization, on Monday, urged the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami to advise President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

Ohanaeze made the call in response to Malami’s remark that the Federal Government has not received any request for Kanu’s release.

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Speaking with DAILY POST, the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Isiguzoro lamented that Malami has advised the president wrongly on the release of Kanu.

Recall that Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State had urged the Federal Government to release Kanu to him.

Soludo had vowed to stand as surety to ensure Kanu’s release.

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The IPOB leader has been detained by the Department of State Services, DSS, on the order of the Federal Government since June 2021.

Despite the court ruling ordering his release, the Nigerian government has refused to set him free.

Malami had said the Federal Government was yet to receive a formal request for Kanu’s release.

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However, Isiguzoro said Ohanaeze and some elder statesmen of the South East had met Buhari and requested Kanu’s release.

According to Isiguzoro: “Ohanaeze has put a formal request and paid a visit to the president which the Minister of Justice was present when the late Mbazulike Amaechi, Ezeife, Bishop Onuoha paid a visit to Buhari and requested that the best thing he can do for Ndigbo was to release Nnamdi Kanu to them.

READ ALSO: Ohanaeze Reacts To Alleged Nnamdi Kanu Poisoning, Warns Against Another Biafra War

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“We want to tell Malami that the Federal Government through his department should stop playing the ostrich and come out boldly to tell us that they are not ready which they have shown in action but not in words.

“The body language of Mr President has shown that they are not ready to release Kanu having not obeyed the court order that granted his release. Malami should rightly advise the president to release Kanu.

“The body language of Malami has shown they have wrongly advised Mr President not to release Kanu based on reasons known to them. Such a situation of not obeying court order is aimed at instigating insecurity in the Southeast.”

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