Nigeria: My Ordeal With SSS Over Abuja Bombings, By Dokpesi

Regulation & Policy

This Day’s Chuks Okocha reported on Chief Raymond Dokpesi’s arrest on 9th. October 2010. Dokpesi who runs AIT/DAAR in Nigeria was questioned and released.
In Abudja, barely a week after he regained his freedom from the cell of the State Security Services, (SSS), where he was detained for questioning over the Oct 1 bomb blasts in Abuja, Director-General of Ibrahim Babangida Campaign Organisation, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, narrated his ordeal in the hands of the security operatives.

Dokpesi, who is Chairman of DAAR Communications, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower Radio, said he was at a loss why the SSS invited him for interrogation over the blasts that claimed 12 lives, injuring scores of others.

He said his confusion stemmed from the fact: "I have nothing to do with the bomb blast. I have never attended to any groups of persons that are involved in the bomb blast. I have never been associated with Mr. Henry Okah. I have never been involved in any correspondence with him through either directly or communicated with him through any third party," he said

The IBB campaign organisation boss told reporters in his house in Abuja that: "On Monday, October 3, I received a telephone call on my way from Jigawa State asking me to report at the SSS headquarters at 10:00 in the morning.

"And I asked the name of the person that was calling and he said he is an official of the SSS. I was at the SSS headquarters diligently at 10am as requested by them. When I came in, I was shown a handset where somebody was asking weather he had collected the N4 million from Dokpesi and whether I know anything about this text message?"

Dokpesi said in a response to the question, he told the SSS that: "I am not the owner of the handset, the message was not sent to me. I don't even know who they are, who and who is exchanging this text message. I was told that it is one Edo Aroh from Bayelsa State. And I said I have no financial contact or any financial agreement with anybody that bears that name."

He said he told his interrogators that he could recall appointing one Hon. Opuokeno as the IBB 2011 State Coordinator in Bayelsa State and the Hon was the only he had dealings with.

"And with Opukeno I have a relationship. I have released N4million to him to be able to secure a campaign office in state. And that is the extent to which I have had a contact and they called me further to say do I know the Niger Delta Renaissanace Network and I said Yes.”

"I do recall clearly that when I was still Chairman of Daar Communications PLC, on or about August 26, prior to my acceptance of being the Director General of the campaign of IBB 2011, that a group, about five gentlemen, wrote a letter, seeking an appointment to see me. And that these five gentlemen said they were representatives of the Niger Delta Renaissance Network. They had placed advertorials from the end of July in some national dailies.”

They had appeared on AIT and on Channels TV. And the main trust of their advertorial is that they are in support of the PDP zoning. They are in support of the fact that we should have justice and fairness in the polity that PDP members should respect the zoning formula of the party."

He said having been moved by their story of bills they have been picking up in pushing for the respect of the zoning agreement, he directed his executive assistance to give them N500,000 to be shared N100,000 apiece among the five of them.

"So I left them and that was all the discussion we had; there was no politics, there was nothing that was there apart from the fact that they needed financial assistance and I gave them N500,000. Thereafter I never had any contacts with them until 1st September when I was appointed DG of the IBB campaign organisation," he said.

Dokpesi said he was also short of words because since he did a petition to the security agencies complaining about the danger he was facing following his acceptance of appointment to lead the IBB Campaign Organisation, none of the agencies has done anything to that effect.
«But up till today, they have not invited me or responded to the matter. Only for me to now get the invitation to come in for interrogation," he said.

Speaking on AIT's coverage of the U-17 Word Cup, Dokpesi said: "AIT, for its efforts at the U-17 World Cup was initially owed N5.7 billion by the federal government, but the figure has risen to N19.7 billion."

On what the government was doing to pay his organisation, he said: "President Goodluck Jonathan earlier sent text messages as Vice-President, to him pleading with him to bear with the government over the debt as the President, late Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua, was sick and that the debt was delegated to him to pay. But also when Jonathan became President, I was told that he was quoted that the AIT should bear the cost as part of national service."

According to BBC News, Dokpesi has lodged a lawsuit against the secret police over his arrest in connection with the Independence Day Abuja bombings. Dokpesi, election campaign chief to a rival of the president in elections due next year, wants 100m naira ($660,000) in damages.