Ijaw National Council Warns FG, Condemns Proliferation Of Adhoc Groups

 

militant, NPDC, Delta, Pipelines, Crisis, Negotiation
The council says there are too many parties jostling to be part of the negotiation talks with FG

At least 32 groups have emerged and are scrambling to be part of negotiations with the Federal Government over the Niger Delta crisis.

This was according to the President of the Ijaw National Council, Charles Harry, who mentioned this during a meeting of the council with journalists in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

The Ijaw leader who described it as inimical to the interest of the region, called on the federal government to avoid ad-hoc arrangements which is believed to only produce temporary relief.

Ceasefire Agreements

There have been several attacks on oil facilities in the region, leading to a drop in oil output of the nation that relies largely on crude oil sales for revenue.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

Recently, it said it has agreed to a ceasefire and was ready for negotiation with the Federal Government.

Ijaw national council, adhoc groupsThe Ijaw council however opined that the recent bombings in the Niger Delta even in the face of ceasefire agreements, are also an expression of grievances.

This according to them is over what they believe is the “persecution of the Former President, Jonathan, by prosecuting his wife Patience Jonathan”.

‘Don’t touch Mrs Jonathan’

The Niger Delta Avengers had threatened to initiate more attacks if Mrs Jonathan is arrested, suggesting that the EFCC should begin with the “prosecution of past first ladies”.

One of the groups, Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) headed by Udengs Eradiri said “Mrs Jonathan should not have to answer any questions from the EFCC as she got her wealth through gratification and ‘thank you’ gifts from those who seek her help”.

Mr Eradiri also made reference to the funds allegedly recovered from ex-Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

He alleged that “Bayelsa state money is in their coffers” saying such monies ought to be put back into the state for its well-being.

The Avengers appear to have split into several groups, making the task of securing proper negotiations with the actual group seem a bit daunting for the government.

However, with the military’s initiation of Operation Delta Safe and Exercise Crocodile Smile, there are hopes that there will soon be an end to the attacks on oil installations.

 

Bayelsa Guber Poll: PDP Super Delegates Endorse Dickson As Sole Candidate

dicksonSuper delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Bayelsa State, have endorsed Governor Seriake Dickson as the party’s sole candidate.

On Tuesday, the delegates made the endorsement at a meeting of super delegates at the Yenagoa residence of the Chairman of the Restoration Campaign Advisory Council and former Governor of the state,  Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

The super delegates numbering over 250, include past and present leaders of the party, political office holders (elected and appointed), some members of the State Executive council and members of the State House of Assembly, PDP State Working Committee, and the leadership of the Local Government Councils.

Welcoming his guests, Chief Alamieyeseigha noted that, the successful emergence of the Governor as the sole candidate of the PDP, affords the party the opportunity to carry out effective campaigns in all the nooks and crannies of the state without any distraction.

Consequently, a formal motion of endorsement was moved by a onetime State Secretary of the PDP, Captain Mark Opubiri Rtd, and was seconded by the Vice Chairman of the Southern Ijaw Local Government, Mrs Lovina Gboluseri.

In his response, Governor Dickson, expressed appreciation to the leadership and delegates of the party for the honour done him and pledged submissiveness to the interest of the PDP at all times.

He acknowledged that all the achievements of the restoration government would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of the party and well-meaning people of the state.

The Bayelsa State Governor, however, called on the members of the PDP to remain steadfast in their support and work to achieve a landslide victory in the December 5 election to further demonstrate the dominant position the party enjoys in the state.

Governor Dickson also used the opportunity to call on those, who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), to return back to the PDP.

Bayelsa Calls For Investigation Into Death Of Alamieyeseigha’s Son

AlamieyeseighaThe Bayelsa State Government has expressed shock over the sudden demise of the son of the first civilian governor of the state, Mr Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Oyoms Alamieyeseigha, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Describing his death as a devastating blow, the government, in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said that the deceased would not only be missed by his immediate family, but the entire state as a whole.

They called on the security operatives in Dubai to unravel the mystery surrounding the death, especially as there are conflicting reports over the manner in which he died.

The statement stated that this would afford the nation an opportunity to justify the confidence reposed in the security agents.

The statement also prayed God to grant the father, who has contributed immensely to the growth of his fatherland and members of the Alamieyeseigha family the strength and fortitude to bear the loss.

Alamieyeseigha Pardon: Church, Activists Drag Jonathan To UN

World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) have dragged the Federal Government to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) expressing “serious concerns about the state pardon granted former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha by President Goodluck Jonathan.”

The groups said they “consider this to be entirely inconsistent with the country’s international human rights and anticorruption commitments, and the promises made by the government of Nigeria to the United Nations during its Universal Periodic Review in 2009.”

The complaint was submitted to the UN as part of an update to the submission made by the groups to the UPR this month.

The 2009 UPR asked the government of Nigeria to pursue its “fight” against corruption so that “all its citizens” can enjoy peace, health and security. The government of Nigeria accepted all the recommendation.

WEA and SERAP said that, “However, despite these commitments to the international community, the government of Nigeria has not taken seriously its expressed commitment to combat corruption.”

The groups also said that, “By granting pardon for Alamieyeseigha the government has also seriously undermined the integrity and efficacy of the fight against corruption, eroded the credibility of public institutions (in particular anti-corruption institutions and agencies), undermined the deterrent effects of punishment for corruption, and engendered public cynicism.”

According to the groups, “The granting of pardon will also lead to a vicious cycle of corruption and impunity of perpetrators, and this can only continue to rob the government of its capacity to deliver services to the poor, and ensure that corrupt public officials keep the proceeds of their misconduct. This is double jeopardy for the victims of corruption in the country.”

The groups said that “This shows the government’s lack of political will to genuinely combat high level official corruption in Nigeria, and sends a wrong message that certain individuals who are close to the government will enjoy impunity for their misconduct and will be above the law.”

“Because corruption has been an intrinsic part of the way successive governments have operated, it will be impossible for the country to achieve development, sustainability and end poverty and discrimination if corruption persists,” the groups also said.

“We are also concerned that the granting of pardon amounts to a fundamental breach of the constitution of Nigeria, which among others requires the president to eradicate all corrupt practices and abuse of power. We hope to see the Universal Periodic Review of Nigeria reflect the concerns outlined in our submission (and this update), and include in its outcome document the following recommendations addressed to the government of Nigeria”:

a.    Rescind without further delay the alleged state pardon granted former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha

b.    Ensure full repatriation and recovery of the stolen public funds by Diepreye Alamieyeseigha

c.    Ensure full transparency and accountability in government institutions

d.    Improve financial oversight of government’s expenditure

e.    Build judicial capacity to enhance the prosecution of corrupt public officials

Mr Alamieyeseigha was detained in London on charges of money laundering while he was governor in September 2005. He escaped from the UK in December 2005. He, however, pleaded guilty in court to a six-count charge in July 2007, and was sentenced to two years in prison on each count charge.

WEA is a network of churches in 129 nations that have each formed an evangelical alliance and over 100 international organizations joining together to give a world-wide identity, voice, and platform to more than 600 million evangelical Christians

SERAP is a Nigerian based human rights and anti-corruption NGO.

 

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.”

Alam’s Pardon Has No Connection With 2015 – Reuben Abati

Dr Reuben Abati has also denied claims that the state pardon granted to former Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is connected to the next general election in 2015.

The campaign posters hit the social media over the weekend

This is coming despite the emergency of campaign pictures of Mr Alamieyeseigha for Senatorial election in Bayela state in the forthcoming 2015 general elections.

Dr Abati noted that people connecting the recent state pardon with the 2015 general elections are just being mischievous.

When asked to make known the President’s stance on his attempt to seek another term in the 2015 general elections, the President’s spokesperson urged Nigerians to wait till 2014 to know whether President Goodluck Jonathan will run or not in the next general elections.

Yar’Adua, Diya And Adisa Were Previously Granted Clemency Not Pardon – Abati

Dr Reuben Abati has explained that the previous ‘pardon’ granted to some former military officers alongside the convicted former governor of Bayela state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, were not pardon but clemency.

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President made this known on Channels TV weekend breakfast show, Sunrise where he explained that the military officers were granted ‘clemency’ and not Pardon.

According to him, the Generals were previously granted ‘clemency’ and not pardon which did not return their full corporal rights thereby they cannot use their military titles but with the new pardon, they have being further forgiven and the pardon has cancelled their corporal rights which were not returned.

Among those pardoned by the President earlier in the week are late General Shehu Musa Yar Adua, and three former Army officers accused of coup plotting:  Oladipo Diya, a former Chief of General Staff, Major-General Abdulkareem Adisa and Major Fadipe.

It has been reported that all the military officers had been pardoned by the Abdulsalam Abubakar administration.

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.

Transparency International Says Pardon of Alamieyeseigha Will Encourage Impunity

Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, on Thursday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to rescind the pardon granted to former Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was convicted for money laundering and other serious corruption offences in 2007.

“This decision undermines anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria and encourages impunity. If the government is serious about uprooting public corruption, sanctions against those who betray the public trust should be strengthened, not relaxed,” said Akere Muna, vice-chair of Transparency International.

By reason of the presidential pardon, Mr Alamieyeseigha will now be able to stand for public office again.

The anti-corruption organisation advised President Jonathan to show that he is committed to fighting corruption and endorse the efforts of law enforcement agencies to end impunity for corrupt officials.

Nigeria was ranked 139 out of 174 countries in the 2012 Corruptions Perceptions Index.

Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has prosecuted and convicted a number of high-profile corrupt individuals since its inception in 2003, but most of them have escaped effective sanctions.

Is Sultan Not Thinking Right To Ask For Boko Haram’s Pardon? – Tony Uranta

Mr. Tony Uranta has countered claims that the pardon granted the former Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is wrongly timed.

He likened the pardon to the recent amnesty request by the Sultan of Sokoto for members of Boko Haram sect.

“Is the Sultan not thinking right to make such a request?” he asked in response to people raising issues with the timing of Alamieyeseigha’s pardon.

Alams Deserves To Be Pardoned For His Role In Amnesty – Tony Uranta

The Executive Secretary of the National Summit Group (NSG), Mr Tony Uranta, has condemned the widespread criticism that has greeted the pardon granted to the convicted former Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, saying the man has admitted the crime he committed and has served his time for his conviction.

Speaking on our breakfast television programme, Sunrise Daily Mr Uranta, stated that the former governor who has remained a prominent Ijaw leader, played a prominent role in the prevailing amnesty that has restored peace to the Niger Delta and therefore deserves the pardon.

“Alamieyeseigha contributed enormously to the on-going amnesty in the Niger Delta and every Nigerian is currently benefitting from because via the increased crude oil production that has doubled after the amnesty” he said.

“He played a great role in helping to keep peace in the country and he done his time in prison” he added.

Minority card

The Presidential ally also drew the ethnic sentiment when he asked that “should Alamieyeseigha not be pardoned because he is a minority?”

He further asked why there is no similar brouhaha over the other beneficiaries of the pardon that came from other major tribes in the country.

“Why the focus on Alamieyeseigha when coupists are amongst those that were pardoned?”

The National Council of States, headed by President Jonathan on Tuesday granted state pardon to Mr Alamieyeseigha and other ex-convicts including Major Genral Oladipo Diya, Major Bello Magaji, Mohammed Lima Biu, Late Major General Abdulkareem Adisa (Post Humous), Major Segun Fadipe and former head of the Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama.

According to Mr Uranta, the military coup plotters engaged in a higher level of corruption than the convicted former governor because they truncated the nation’s constitution to enrich their pockets.

He also asked why there was no similar uproar following the pardon granted to the first Speaker of the fourth republic, Mr Salisu Buhari, who was pardoned by President Olusegun Obasanjo just hours after his conviction.

Mr Uranta also recalled that former President Obasanajo was also granted pardon after he was convicted and sentenced to death for an alleged coup plot.

The social commentator urge all Nigerians to respect the decision of the National Council of States, emphasising that it was not a decision reached by the President on his own.

“If all former Chief Justices, former Presidents and all serving governors sat down and decide that these people deserve to be pardoned, then I think we should all respect that.”

Presidential Pardon to Alamieyeseigha Sparks Outrage

Granting pardon to the former governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is an indication that President Goodluck Jonathan is not serious about the fight against corruption. This condemnation is coming from some lawyers, politicians and activists.

Former governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha

The former Kaduna state governor, Balarabe Musa believes the pardon has shown that President Jonathan has abandoned the fight against corruption.

“What is the justification for the pardon? Are they too old to stay in the prison where they belong? This is unfortunate particularly at this period when the government is talking about the fight against corruption,” he said.

“This simply means that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has abandoned his anti-corruption crusade. It has a political manoeuvring.”

President of the Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sani, said he was in support of the pardon for Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and the others but that it appeared they were on the list as a smokescreen to re-launch Mr Alamieyeseigha into politics.

“I’m in support of pardon for Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Oladipo Diya and co but I know they were simply used as a smokescreen. They were given pardon in order to give credibility to the pardon but the exercise was done because of Alamieyeseigha,” he said.

Lawyer Festus Keyamo, in a statement on Tuesday night, said the pardon for Mr Alamieyeseigha “typifies the height of insensitivity of this government to the feelings of Nigerians about the war against corruption.”

He added: “This pardon by the President teaches no bitter lesson to thieving and corrupt public officers. It encourages corruption at the highest and the lowest levels of public office and the decision itself is corruption per excellence.”

Another lawyer, Bamidele Aturu, said if the pardon is truly granted, it “will signal the end of the existing phony war against corruption.”

Former president of the Nigerian Bar Association Rotimi Akeredolu said the pardon does not rule out the fact that Alamieyeseigha has committed a crime which would still hold against him.

But lawyer Mike Ozekhome said the pardon “cleansed” the ex-convict of any “sin.”

He said, “The stigma of being an ex-convict has just been totally washed away and such a person can contest elections. He is taken in the eye of the law that he has never committed any offence.

“Anyone who will blame President Jonathan for giving Presidential pardon to his former boss, who brought him out of the classroom, such will be living in a dream world of unreality. It is only natural that the President will want to pardon his former boss who has always been there for him.”

In its reaction, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Tuesday night said the presidential pardon for Mr Alamieyeseigha was “laughable and tribalistic.”

The CPC spokesman, Rotimi Fashakin said the decision was akin to granting posthumous pardon to the likes of notorious armed robber Lawrence Anini.

“There is a better way to show solidarity with one’s boss than this utterly reprehensible action…. This is another proof that the Jonathan regime is not averse to corruption,” Fashakin said.

Secretary General of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Willy Ezugwu, said, “This is saddening…. This has also confirmed that the president is hobnobbing with corruption and that Nigerians should not put their hope on him to move the nation forward.”