EFCC operatives ‘storm Doyin Okupe’s home’ (NEWS)
Two anti-graft officers from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission were at the home of former presidential aide Doyin Okupe in Lagos, the politician said on Saturday.
Mr Okupe said in a tweet at about 4:30 p.m. that the EFCC agents stormed his house in Ilupeju neighbourhood without bearing any invitation document or arrest warrant.
In a follow-up discussion over the development, Mr Okupe told PREMIUM TIMES the agents said he had done something that violated the Cybercrime Act, a repressive law enacted shortly before President Goodluck Jonathan left office in 2015.
“They knocked and I told them to come in, but when they identified themselves as being from the EFCC, I asked for letter of invitation or arrest warrant, but they could not provide either,” Mr Okupe said. “I immediately said I cannot follow them that they should give me time and also go back and obtain a warrant or invitation letter.”
Mr Okupe, a member of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, told PREMIUM TIMES the two officers came from the anti-graft office’s Lagos field office in Ikoyi.
“They said they are looking for me for cyberstalking,” he added. “But they have now left my house and I did not follow them.”
A spokesperson for the EFCC could not immediately confirm details of the operation when reached for comments Saturday evening.
Mr Okupe was a public affairs adviser to Mr Jonathan until the administration was voted out at the 2015 general elections.
He was amongst those initially questioned by the EFCC on suspicion of benefitting from questionable use of public funds, especially in the arms purchase scandal that has dominated the headlines since mid-2015.
Mr Okupe denied allegations of fraud after being grilled in 2016, and the matter subsequently went lulled.
The politician has been an ardent critic of the current government, and he has played critical role in the ongoing campaign by the PDP to dislodge Mr Buhari and return to power in 2019.
Mr Okupe frequently offers some of his harshest critiques of the Buhari administration on Twitter, and it was unclear whether one or two of his latest attacks drew the attention of the EFCC.
Although established to concentrate on curbing endemic corruption for which Nigeria has been infamous for decades, the EFCC has found itself going after citizens on allegations of cyberstalking, which was derived from Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act.
The agency detained Abubakar Usman, a pro-government blogger, in August 2016 over a story he published against Ibrahim Magu, the acting-chairman of the EFCC.
Mr Usman was detained for several days, before being freed on administrative bail, although nothing has been heard about the case ever since.
While rights advocates strongly frowned at EFCC action against Mr Usman, they have expressed even more grievous concerns about how the police are deploying cyberstalking as a tool of repression.
Dozens of Nigerian citizens, especially journalists and bloggers, have been detained since Cybercrime Act came into force, which coincided with Mr Buhari’s assumption of office.
The most recent case appeared to be the one involving Deji Adeyanju, a political activist whom the police detained at a federal prison for a week.
Mr Adeyanju was arrested with two others during a November 28 parade against partisan conduct of security chiefs, and he was immediately slammed with two cyberstalking cases brought separately at two different courts by the police and the Nigerian Army.
He was released on December 6 after posting a bail, with the two trials expected to resume in January 2019.