Gentlemen of the Press,
Recall that the operatives of Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) visited the Lagos home of Dr. Doyin Okupe hereinafter freely referred to as our Client with the aim of arresting him on Saturday the 8th December, 2018. On getting to the home of our Client, our Client demanded for letter of invitation or arrest warrant to make the mission of EFCC operatives come within the law of the land; but they were unable to produce any instrument with which to arrest or invite our Client.
As a law abiding Citizen of Federal Republic of Nigeria, our Client offered to turned himself in at the office of EFCC at Abuja on Monday 10th December, 2018 at 12 noon and true to his promise; our Client kept his words and reported at EFCC office at Idiagbon House, opposite Rockview Hotel, Wuse II-Abuja on Monday 10th December, 2018 at 12 noon in company of his team of Lawyers from where he was directed to the Head office at Education Institution District, Jabi-Abuja.
Our Client was not attended to until about 6pm in the evening when most of the offices had closed as he was led back to the headquarters at this time with a mobile policeman that was armed to the teeth.
On getting to Idiagbon House, our Client was served with Criminal Charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/222/2018 which is a 59 count Charge filed at the Federal High Court on 6th December, 2018 and there and then, our Client was informed that based on order from above, he would be detained. One would have expected the immediate release of someone who has been served with a Criminal Charge to give him adequate time and facility as provided by the Constitution to defend himself but in this case, the Commission chose to disobey the express wordings of the Constitution and detained our Client.
Today 11th December, 2018, we proceeded to Federal High Court at Abuja with the hope of going to defend our Client only to find out that the Charge has not been assigned to any court and there was no has been fixed for the arraignment of our Client.
Based on the fact in the above preceding paragraph, we came back to EFCC Office at Wuse II where we met the Investigation Officer who directed us to the Legal Department after narrating our findings at the Federal High Court to him. We proceeded to the Legal Unit and met the Director of Legal at the new EFCC Office at Jabi whom we also told about the ugly development. The Director Legal further directed us to operatives after demanding that Dr. Okupe who hitherto is on administrative bail granted him over two years ago be allowed to continue to enjoy the said bail.
We refused to get tired and visited the Zonal Director of Operation who is in charge of the case of our Client at the Head office on the advice of Director, Legal Services and narrated the ordeal and demanded for the freedom of our Client. The Director of Operations who was very receptive of us directed us back to the Investigation Officer and promised to give him instruction on what to do. After waiting endlessly for Investigation Officer to call us for the release of our Client, we returned to the office of I.O at about 3:30 pm to inquire whether he had received instruction from his boss to which he replied NO. We demanded that he should call his boss to find out what to do about our Client but he said it is against rules of engagement in the Commission. At that level, we gave up the hope of allowing our Client to enjoy his administrative bail pending an arraignment that has no date.
It is very important to tell the whole World about the ordeal of our Client that we suspect from all indications had political undertone as the procedure adopted in detaining our Client is unconstitutional and unknown to our Law.
It is worthy of note to let you know that the allegations that our Clients have been charged with was investigated two years ago and our Client was cleared at that time that he had no case to answer, hence he was not charged to any court and on that basis, his travelling document was returned to him.
That after the Passport was returned to our Client, he was about travelling to America for medicals when he was stopped at the Airport by the DSS on the basis of pending allegations and investigation at EFCC. Our Client got in touch with EFCC who wrote letter to the DSS to allow our Client to travel on the ground that nothing incriminating was found against him and has been cleared of all allegations. Our Client had since then traveled out of the country three times without molestation.
Dr. Okupe futher informed us that things changed when he gave evidence in support of Chief Olisa Metuh the former Publicity Secretary of PDP and also turned down overture to join the ruling Party, All Progressives Congress.
The matter with our Client got worse when he was appointed as Special Adviser, Media to the Senate President Bukola Saraki who is the Director General of Atiku Campaing for 2019 Presidential Election and started issuing statements that are critical of the ruling APC especially his recent Tweets calling for the change of Commander in Chief of Armed Forces.
Finally, we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to allow our Client to have his freedom or be allowed to have his day in court haven been served with the allegation against him. The present procedure adopted by filling a charge that has not been assigned to any court and/or listed for hearing and yet our Client has been rearrested and detained without knowing the date of his arraignment is an abuse of court process and unconstitutional as our Client is still presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved.
The EFCC and the Federal Government of Nigeria should note that the whole World is watching us as a Nation and are taking note of how opposition party members are being hounded at the eve of a very crucial General Election. EFCC should note that it is not a department of APC, it is an institution that should be fair to all no matter the political divide that one may belong.
We call for the release of our Client immediately on the basis of his existing administrative bail pending his arraignment in Court to face his Charge which he is prepared to defend whenever called upon to do so.
Thanks and God bless you all.
TOLU BABALEYE ESQ