Mr. Abba Dabo, a former special adviser on political matters to former Vice President Namadi Sambo, testified against the national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, in the ongoing corruption case against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Metuh arrived in court around 9am on Thursday, shaven and wearing a suit.
Dabo told the court that Metuh gave him N25m to fight criticisms in the traditional and in the social media against former President Goodluck Jonathan. He however claimed that he realised that the money was part of funds for arms purchase allegedly diverted for other purposes by Sambo Dasuki, a former national security adviser (NSA), and so he handed the cash over to the EFCC.
“On December 16, 2014, Metuh paid N25m through Destra Investment Limited account into my personal account for purposes of publicity for the PDP,” he said.
“When it became obvious that former President Goodluck Jonathan will run for office, government officials and party leaders started to meet to review the achievements of the government and prepare for the elections.
“In the course of those meetings, a lot of concern was shown in the opposition’s total control of the media. The PDP was getting negative publicity, and ministers were told to speak more to the press to enhance the image of the government. On my part, we set up a media support group and registered it as ‘Media Support System’ to do media work for the party. We commissioned writers to write and be paid to promote the government. We called it rapid response team, which was successful. It was its success that led to more meetings with Metuh.
“Social media was becoming more stringent in the criticism of the PDP. Also, Hausa radio stations were vicious in the attack of the government and the party. Chief Metuh thought I could assist in mitigating this; that was why he gave me the N25m five days after the presidential nomination convention.
“With that money, we set up a team of facilitators and young IT enthusiasts to run a website called, ‘What’s up Naija’ but we could not register it because the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) wanted it to be ‘What’s up Nigeria.’
“Because the money was linked to the controversial arms deal, I decided to return it. On my own accord, I decided the best way out of this rigmarole was to pay back the money. I paid it back to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”
Dabo is the seventh witness to testify against Metuh. Metuh, who is facing a seven-count charge of money laundering.