The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned Tuesday’s arrest of Daar Communication Chairman, Raymond Dokpesi, and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Dokpesi and former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, were arrested by the anti-graft agency in connection with investigation into arms procurement by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The NSA at the time, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd), was earlier on Tuesday whisked away from his Abuja residence by Department of State Service (DSS) operatives following his indictment by a presidential panel for alleged diversion of funds meant for arms purchase.
Dokpesi and Bafarawa – both allies of Dasuki – are believed to have received money from the beleaguered former security chief.
In its reaction, the PDP said other prominent leaders of the party have been listed for arrest over “unproven allegations” by the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) to cow and silence opposition in the country.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Tuesday said the military style of pronouncement of guilt on Mr. Dokpesi before any fair hearing, betrays the fact that he is a victim of political persecution and mob trial by the APC government because of his association with the PDP.
“While the PDP is not against the war against corruption, we insist that the crusade must be carried out within the limits of the law and not as a guise to persecute and torture opposition elements in the country.
“Our fear is that with the pronouncement of guilt even without being given the opportunity within his rights as a citizen to state his own side of the story, the President Buhari-led government is sidestepping the laws to ensure that Chief Dokpesi does not get justice in the court, a plot which they want to extend to other PDP leaders.
“The PDP therefore demands an open and public trial of all those arrested so that all issues and charges against them as well as their defence therein would also be in the public domain.
“We demand a proper investigation and lawful prosecution instead of the reprehensible resort to outright political persecution, which can only have a place in a military regime.
“We also note that this development may not be unconnected with the planned onslaught against the media, following its commitment in holding this dictatorial regime accountable since it took office.
“Finally, we call on the international community and rights bodies worldwide to note the growing impunity and gross violation of human rights by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government tailored to decimate the opposition and cow the media in Nigeria,” the party said.
PREMIUM TIMES, however, quoted a source at the EFCC as saying Dokpesi was arrested after investigators established that he received some money from the office of the then NSA without any clear reason.
“Chief Dokpesi received N2.1 Billion from the NSA’s office but investigators cannot see any clear reason for the payment,” the source told the online newspaper.
The source said investigators were “suspicious that the money was passed to him as payment for the damaging documentaries and campaigns his station ran on Buhari, Tinubu and Amaechi.
“They believe the funds were budgeted for arms procurement but diverted to Mr. Dokpesi.”
On his part, the former Sokoto governor, Mr. Bafarawa, whose son, Sagir, was earlier arrested by the anti-graft agency, was picked up after investigation showed that he also allegedly received about N4.6 billion from the office of the NSA with no clear reason for payment.