By Gbenga Sijuade
Veteran broadcaster, Olusola Atere has testified against former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, Atere, testified as Prosecution Witness 2, (PW2), before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
He 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 of then, to request for the production of a one-hour programme to promote the policies and programmes of the then Federal Government’s administration.
Speaking further, he explained that, “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.
He 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.
Speaking further, Atere informed the court that he didn’t have much to do with the programme from that point as the producer was liaising with Okupe’s team.
He also revealed that Dr Okupe provided the three guests that discussed weekly on the programme as well as made arrangements to provide the presenters of the programme.
“So I can’t say what kind of arrangement was made in bringing guests, who were experts and ministers,” Atere said.
He retired as Executive Director of News, NTA in 2016.
Naija News reports Okupe is being arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 59 counts bordering on money laundering and criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N702,000,000.