On the 6th of March, 2019 the trial of former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, who the EFCC is prosecuting before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja continued with veteran broadcaster, Olusola Atere testifying against Okupe.
Atere retired as Executive Director News, NTA in 2016. Okupe was arraigned on a 59-count charge, bordering on money laundering and criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N702,000,000 (Seven Hundred and Two Million Naira) only.
Testifying as Prosecution Witness 2, (PW2), Atere told the court that “Okupe was a former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he said came to the NTA and met with the management of the News Directorate which he happened to be a member then, to request for the production of a one-hour programme to promote the policies and programmes of the then Federeal Government’s administration.
He said, “we held a meeting and started planning for the programme. Subsequently, members of Okupe’s team came for another meeting with NTA.”
Atere told the court that after the meeting, he was directed to raise a memo to send a budget proposal to the office of the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs on October 9, 2013 for which he said no response came from Okupe.
Atere further disclosed that the NTA appointed a producer for the proposed programme who was liaising with the team from Okupe’s office. According to him, by October 23, 2013, he was directed by his boss the Executive Director News to raise a memo to the Acting Director General NTA, informing him of the Okupe request and that by October 24, 2013, the Director General minuted to him that the programme should be taken as part of corporate social responsibility and be broadcast at no cost.
Atere informed the court that he didn’t have much to do with the programme from this point as the producer was liaising with Okupe’s team.