Raymond Dokpesi, Chairman of DAAR Communications PLC, owners of African Independent Television (AIT), has spoken on his invitation by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
Speaking in a question-and-answer session published by AIT on Wednesday, Dokpesi confirmed that he was arrested for about an hour on Friday, March 22.
He also spoke on what transpired when he was questioned at the NIS on Wednesday, confirming that there were "altercations and tempers went very high".
Dokpesi is standing trial over allegations bordering on benefitting illegally from the N2.1billion from the office of Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser (NSA) during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
SEE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW:
Dokpesi on his invitation by Nigeria Immigration Service
I just returned from a medical trip overseas last Friday, March 22, 2019, when I was arrested for 50 -55 minutes at the airport. I was told that they have instructions from above to arrest me on my return but after a few phone calls and contacts, the immigration officer at the airport told me that he has instructions from above that I can leave and he gave me back my passport and told me that I should go and that they will reach me subsequently.
On Monday, I received new information and in line with the normal process, I returned my passport to the Federal High Court since I travelled under judicial approval or permission. So I returned my passport and came back and gave notice that I might have to go for a medical check-up so that they will ensure that the operation was successful and that all the organs and everything is properly healed.
So when I got the letter yesterday the 26th, I replied that same yesterday the 26th notifying them that I have returned the passport to the Federal High Court and that it has been duly acknowledged and added all the necessary information and so on. But the officers who interrogated me said that they had expected me to go back to the Federal High Court and obtain the passport with their letter of invitation. I told them that I totally defer from that line of thought.
I have returned. I got the passport from the Federal High Court. I returned the passport to the Federal High Court. If you the immigration service with the instruction from above require my passport, then write directly to the Federal High Court and request for the passport. If you like, you can copy me for me to be able to go there and say, look I am supposed to be a courier, has the Court approved it and I will return it clearly, but that did not happen and that made us have altercations and tempers went very high.
But I stood my ground and said, ‘well I am a Nigerian citizen. I have travelled out for my medical treatment. I am back to the country and I voluntarily came back and have handed over my passport to the appropriate authority.’ They were telling me that the passport was a property of the Federal Government and the Federal Government has a right to withdraw it at any time.
Granted the passport is a property of the Federal Government and Federal Government has a right to withdraw it but I am also a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and there is a judicial process. There is a rule of law, why should we not go through the judicial process and be able to define what is required?
What is the situation of things now?
The resolution now is that of course, they said I should go home, but he left with an annotation that should they have any reason to invite me after they had reviewed my statement that I wrote and the letter I sent to them yesterday, that I should honour the invitation when I do receive it.
Is there any indication that they want to impound your passport?
Definitely, if I had brought my passport today, they would have impounded it; that is what it is. There are no two ways about it, but the passport is with the Court. But even if they decide to do so, like I said, the passport is a property of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, so they can request for it.
Do you suspect any foul play?
I do not suspect any foul play. I can only say what I know but honestly, this is the handiwork of the Buhari Federal Government.
What actions are you going to take now?
Honestly, there is nothing I can do, I am already in court, we have challenged Order 6 and all the Orders that are there. I am a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and it is through my own sweat that I went for treatment.