Bayelsa To Mourn Alamieyeseigha For Seven Days

Bayelsa Govt. Declares Seven Days To Mourn AlamieyeseighaThe Bayelsa State Government in Nigeria’s South-southern region has declared seven days of mourning in honour of the late first civilian Governor of the State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

A Government House statement to this effect also directed that all flags in all public buildings and premises across the state be flown at half-mast for the period.

The seven days mourning period and the flying of the flags at half-mast takes effect from Monday, October 12.

Condolence registers have also been opened at the Government House, the State Secretariat complex and Ijaw House, all in Yenagoa the State capital.

Chief Alamieyeseigha reportedly died of cardiac arrest at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, after slipping into coma and was placed on life support.

 

Former Bayelsa Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha Is Dead

AlamieyeseighaFormer Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, is dead.

Chief Alamieyeseigha reportedly died of cardiac arrest at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, after slipping into coma two days ago and was placed on life support.

The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Esueme Dan-Kikili, who confirmed the death to Channels Television, said that the death of the former governor was a great loss to the Ijaw ethnic group.

There were reports during the week that the British Government was determined to resurrect an outstanding case of money laundering against the former governor and had requested for his extradition to London.

Alamieyeseigha, who was facing money laundering charges, jumped bail and returned to Nigeria and has since then refused to answer summons for trial to continue.

He was convicted of corruption charges in Nigeria but was later granted state pardon by former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was born on November 16, 1952 in Amassoma, Ogboin North Local Government Area, Bayelsa State and had his secondary school education at the Bishop Dimeari Grammar School, Yenagoa.

He joined the Nigerian Defence Academy as a Cadet Officer in 1974, and was enlisted in the Nigerian Air Force, where he served in the department of Logistics and Supply.

Before retiring from the Air Force in 1992 as a Squadron Leader, he had served in Enugu, Markurdi, Kaduna and Ikeja.

He became the Sole Administrator of Pabod Supplies Port Harcourt and later Head of Budget, Planning, Research and Development of the National Fertiliser Company (NAFCON).

Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was Governor of Bayelsa State in Nigeria from May 29, 1999 to December 9, 2005. He was  impeached on allegations of corruption.

UK Wants Alamieyeseigha Extradited

AlamieyeseighaThe case of former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, appeared concluded when former President Goodluck Jonathan granted him state pardon, but the British Government seems determined to resurrect the case.

Reports say they have requested for the extradition of the former governor to London.

For the British Government, the former governor has an outstanding case in the UK on money laundering which is there for him to answer.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, was quoted as saying that the President Buhari-led government is prepared to assent to the request of the British Government.

He said that the United Kingdom has every legal right to demand for the extradition of the former Bayelsa State Governor.

“The UK is in principle correct to be making such a request based on the fact that the crime was committed on the British soil. However, when there is delay in trial as a result of time, there may be consideration on legal grounds so that the trial is not seen as oppressive,” he said.

Former Governor Alamieyeseigha, who was facing money laundering charges, jumped bail and returned to Nigeria and has since then refused to answer summons for trial to continue.

Bill Gates Didn’t Cancel Visit Due To Alamieyeseigha’s Pardon – Presidency

The presidency has been reacting to report attributing the cancellation of Bill Gates’ visit to Nigeria to the controversy over state pardon given former Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and some other Nigerians.

Gates visits the Bini Community Health Post, in Sokoto in February; the community is one of those combating the polio disease in Nigeria.

The Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, who spoke to journalists on the issue, said that he read the report in some sections of the media insinuating that Mr Gates has cancelled his planned visit to Nigeria because of the recent pardon granted some Nigerians.

He said President Jonathan is in touch with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and that this report is not true and that it exists only in the imagination of the writers.

According to Mr Abati the foundation said that Mr Gates travels are often dependent on the schedules and availability of many other people and partners and that in this particular case, because these other people and partners will not be available at the time he is presently scheduled to visit Nigeria, they have to reschedule the visit.

They also said the rescheduling has nothing to do with politics and that it has nothing to do with any domestic situation in Nigeria.

According to the president’s spokesman, the foundation said that Mr Gates has visited Nigeria many times in the past and he will continue to visit the country because his focus is working with the Federal government and partners in Nigeria to eradicate polio.

He said, “Nigerians should note that President Jonathan and Mr Bill Gates have met several times in the past and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is one of the major partners working with Nigerian government to ensure that polio is completely eradicated by 2015.

“What we will like to reassure people is that those who are always looking for opportunity to pull down the country should realise the fact that this country belongs to all of us and that nobody will gain anything by trying to pull down the country.

“Instead, Nigerians should do everything possible to promote their own country regardless of whatever differences that may exist among us: ethnic, religious, sectarian, whatever.”

Okupe Explains Why Alamieyeseigha Was Pardoned

Reacting to criticism that greeted the state pardon granted to the former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, by the National Council of State, the presidency on Thursday said apart from him being remorseful, the former governor has been silently playing a key role in stabilizing the volatile Niger Delta region.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, also appealed to Nigerians and members of Civil Society Groups for open mindedness on the pardon granted Mr Alamieyeseigha.

Mr Okupe, who reminded Nigerians that Mr Alamieyeseigha was removed from office in a manner that was not being entirely above board, he said the former governor has been adequately punished for his misdemeanour and demonstrated enough soberness after he served his sentence.

“It is out of place to suggest that the pardon is tantamount to abandoning the fight against corruption in Nigeria. This is too far from the truth,” he said.

The president’s spokesman argued that after all, the former Bayelsa State Governor’s prosecution was politically motivated.

“Gentlemen of the Press will recall that former Governor DSP Alamieyeseigha was removed from office in a manner that was suggested by many as not being entirely above board,” he said.

Mr Okupe said the former governor served his time, lost his position, “forfeited the property illegally acquired and has demonstrated enough soberness after he served his sentence.”

“It has often been said that there is always a season for everything under the sun, a season to punish and a season to forgive. Distinguished gentlemen of the press, fellow Nigerians, this is the season to forgive and to heal. May God forgive us all and bless our country Nigeria,” Mr. Okupe said.

Citing a dossier of state pardons by American presidents, Mr. Okupe said Nigerians should recognize Mr. Alamieyeseigha’s role in keeping the peace in the restive Niger Delta, which is vital for steady oil sales and a running national economy.

“But in truth Alamieyeisegha since he left prison has been working strenuously and silently to assist the President stabilize the amnesty in the Niger Delta Region. Alamieyeisegha is a foremost leader of the Ijaw Nation, and his political and stabilizing influence in that region have impacted positively on the overall economy of the nation, bringing crude oil exports from the abysmally low level of 700,00 bpd, to over 2.4 million bpd!

“Therefore, it is obvious that, Alamieyeisegha has been a major player since his release from prison in ensuring that the blood that runs through the Nigerian economic artery is not cut off,” he said.

SERAP asks FG to repatriate Alamieyeseigha’s loot from the US

A Non-Governmental Organization, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Mohammed Adoke, urging him to “urgently seek from the US government repatriation of forfeiture order on USD 401,931 in assets belonging to Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, the former Governor of Baylelsa State in Nigeria, who has been convicted in Nigeria of money laundering and unjust enrichment while in political office.”

In the letter dated 11 September 2012, and signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni the group said that, “On June 28 2012, the US Department of Justice obtained the first forfeiture judgment ever issued under the new Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative against Mr Alamieyeseigha. The initiative is designed to “target and recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption that have been laundered into or through the United States.”

The group also said that, “the Nigerian government has not yet made a request for the repatriation of the stolen wealth. The failure to repatriate the recovered assets illustrates the government’s attitude to recovery of stolen assets.

“Yet, being a state party to the UN Convention against Corruption Nigeria has a legal obligation to make a request for mutual legal assistance to the US for the return of the assets. The Convention describes asset recovery as its “fundamental principle” and requires state parties to “afford one another the widest measure of cooperation and assistance in this regard,” the group added.

“SERAP’s US Volunteer Counsel, Professor Alexander W. Sierck, is in high level discussion with US officials on the matter but without the Nigerian government taking the initiative the process will not go far,” the group also stated.

According to the group, “Repatriating the stolen assets would contribute to the fight against impunity of perpetrators as would-be corrupt suspects will know that they will never be allowed to keep and enjoy their ill-gotten wealth. The repatriation of the assets and other stolen wealth will also enhance the ability of the government to provide basic necessities of life such as healthcare, water, and electricity to millions of Nigerians who continue to face extreme poverty and misery.”

The group also urged the government to “use the repatriated assets to set up a trust fund for the benefit of the millions of vulnerable and disadvantaged Nigerians who are the victims of high level corruption. Any allocation and spending from such fund must be subject to anti-corruption safeguards so that recovered assets can be spent on public health or education projects, or to provide other basic necessities of life to millions of Nigerians living in poverty.”

“Setting up a trust fund for victims of corruption is entirely consistent with Nigeria’s international human rights obligations and commitments. In fact, Article 79 of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court provides for the establishment of separate trust funds into which criminal penalties and asset forfeiture proceeds are paid. These trust funds should benefit the victims of the crimes committed by the accused. They should serve as a model for the Nigerian government in the efforts to achieve a transparent and accountable spending of recovered stolen assets,” the group also argued.

The group asked Mr Adoke to “use your position to prevail on the President Goodluck Jonathan government to develop a national strategy on asset recovery and spending that will aim to ensure that all stolen assets are promptly recovered and spent for the benefit of Nigerians. This should be done with the full participation and involvement of the anti-corruptions commissions and agencies and civil society organizations.”

Letter to the Attorney General of the Federation requesting the repatriation of former Governor Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha’s loot from the US.