A former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe, on Sunday, confirmed the embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), gave him N100m on the instruction of Jonathan.
Okupe, who served as Jonathan’s spokesman from 2012 to 2015, added that he received N10m monthly from Dasuki to pay salaries and run a weekly programme on NTA.
The former presidential aide said this in a Facebook post while reacting to his arrest and interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The EFCC had alleged that Okupe received N85m from Dasuki at different times.
In his reaction, Okupe said, ‘The initial N50m was approved by the President (Goodluck Jonathan) to be paid to me from his security vote. N10m was to furnish my rented living apartment and another N10m for my office. The balance N30m was approved as take-off grant.
‘The N10m I received from the ONSA monthly was to run my office, pay salaries of members of staff, including overheads, pay expenses for our numerous press conferences, pay for publications in newspapers, magazines, local and foreign, television programmes, bulletins, and media consultants who assist and facilitate our work. I had about 23 (members of ) staff, 11 were graduates out of which five were Master’s degree holders.
‘The second N50m was approved again by Mr. President when I reported to him that the monthly allowance had been cut from N10m to N5m and that I was no longer in a position to keep running a one-hour NTA network programme called INSIGHT which was aired 9am to 10am every Friday.
‘We paid NTA about N1.2m monthly for airtime. Two presenters were paid N600,000 monthly. The lead presenter on INSIGHT earned N400,000 and the second presenter earned N200,000. Total N600,000.
‘We paid for tapes and editing per programme. Besides, we also paid honorarium for guests either directly or in form of hotel bills for those outside Abuja, or transportation.
‘This cost averagely N500,000 weekly or about N2m monthly. All in all, we spent about N4m monthly on the programme. Mr. President promised to help with the expenses. About a few months later when we had incurred some debts the NSA sent me this N50m which was to cover the cost of the programme for 12 months.’
Okupe further clarified that his monthly allowance was not his salary but meant for the running of his office. He said out of the N10m given to him by Dasuki monthly, 40 per cent went on salaries.
‘Salary sheets with names and offices of employees were submitted to the EFCC. I was paid my salary of N853,000 per month through the office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation,’ he said.
Okupe, who was also quizzed for allegedly receiving some dubious contracts from a local council in Niger State to the tune of N76.5m, said his company, Romix Soilfix, was one of the over 20 construction companies who were duly awarded contracts for rural roads some five years ago by the Niger State Government.
He explained that due to lack of funds, contractors were paid irregularly making the job to drag.
‘The job is still ongoing. The relationship of this to my service as senior special assistant to President is still not clear,’ Okupe said.
The former presidential aide criticised the EFCC for allegedly releasing details about his health.
Okupe confirmed that he suffered a heart problem and he only explained this to investigators to prevent him from being detained.
He added, ‘I was born with sinus bradycadia, a non-disease based slowness of the heart. It precluded me from vigorous exercise from childhood but I have, by God’s grace, been able to live a normal and active life.
‘With age, the slowness grew worse and life-threatening. I sought medical help and went through a procedure at the Arrhythmia Cardiac Research Centre in Atlanta, where this defect was corrected. It was just a year ago and I am still under satellite monitor from the USA. This is what I revealed to the EFCC and they made it a public issue.’
Okupe maintained that he was not a thief, adding that he had only two houses: one in Lagos and one in his hometown. – The Punch