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Alamieyeseigha should be impeached and extradited to save Nigeriaís integrity ó says Gani Fawehinmi (SAN)

Posted by dayo benson, Deputy Edior on 2005/11/27 | Views: 521 |

Alamieyeseigha should be impeached and extradited to save Nigeriaís integrity ó says Gani Fawehinmi (SAN)

What Alamieyeseigha has done is criminal. He has jumped bail, he is standing trial in London for serious crimes against British laws, for laundering money which he was alleged to have been taken from his own people in Bayelsa, from the Nigerian state.

What is your reaction to Alamieyeseighaís sudden return to Nigeria even when he is on court bail?

What Alamieyeseigha has done is criminal. He has jumped bail, he is standing trial in London for serious crimes against British laws, for laundering money which he was alleged to have been taken from his own people in Bayelsa, from the Nigerian state.  Now, he is standing trial in London, and he was granted bail, now he has jumped the bail, he has bolted from British justice, he has violated the criminal law of Britain.  And that man, by escaping from justice in England, has made himself an excellency in crime as far as Nigerians are concerned.

How can such a man continue to sit at the helm of affairs in Bayelsa as a governor? How can he have the moral authority for him to continue as the governor of that State?  He is standing trial for a crime and he has committed another crime in the course of the trial by jumping bail, so he has lost all moral authority to govern Bayelsa State, and what is appropriate in the circumstance is to impeach him because under S.188 (of the1999 Constitution), a governor can be impeached for gross misconduct. What Alamieyeseigha has done amounts to gross misconduct, he has ridiculed the integrity of Bayelsa, he has ridiculed the integrity of the entire nation, he has violated his oath of office, he has failed to uphold the constitution of this country under S.33 of the Constitution.

This man has made a mess of our integrity, respectability, honour and dignity internationally.  Here is a governor now having committed international crime by jumping bail in England where he is standing trial for a criminal offence, how can be then come to this country to claim an immunity which he did not even have in Britain.  Yes, I appreciate the fact that under S.308, of the Nigerian Constitution, he has immunity against any arrest, but the issue now is this: Is it morally right for a governor who is standing trial for criminal offences of serious magnitude in England who in the course of the trial had jumped bail and committed another offence to continue to governor that state?  So, I think he should not be allowed to claim that immunity in S.308 which of course he has in Nigeria.

The only way by which it can be prevented from claiming that immunity is to invoke S.188 of the Constitution and impeach him for gross misconduct. Once he is impeached, then he should be taken back to London to face his trial.  First, he will have to face the charge for jumping bail which is a crime, then he will have to face the full trial of the criminal offences for which he was granted bail.  So, we need to impeach this man and save the integrity of this country. Furthermore, it is an indictment too against the Federal Government of Nigeria. Indictment in the sense that this government of Bayelsa as well as the Federal Government are being controlled by PDP which has become an acronym for stealing, for running away from justice, for committing international crime, for money laundering. PDP has ceased to be a respectable political organisation as it is divided among itself, internationally, it has become a pariah party that has given Nigeria a pariah name. We are ashamed of that party for producing such a governor of Bayelsa and itís a tragedy for this country and I hope it will not spark off a diplomatic row between Nigeria and Britain.

By and large in summary, I think Alamieyeseigha should be quickly impeached to save the name of Nigeria and save the integrity of our country, and also to save the dignity and respectability of Bayelsa people.  That man  has no moral authority to govern his people any longer.  He should be ashamed of himself. But of course, one thing is abundantly clear, there are many Alamieyeseighas in Nigeria, what makes the difference between Alamieyeseigha and Dariye is that Dariye jumped police bail, which is lesser crime than jumping court bail, that of the court bail is a more serious one and both of them are members of the PDP echelon. So, wherever you find this horrible thing being done in Nigeria, they are being done by PDP representatives. PDP is a disaster to this country, it is a shame to this country and I think the certificate of that party should be withdrawn by the Independent Electoral Commission.

With the governorís return, do you think the Bayelsa State House of Assembly will have the courage and power to impeach him?
Yes, of course.  Previously, they were saying it would not be possible to impeach him in absentia, technically, we know that he is supposed to be in Britain today and remain there until his case is finally decided.  He has jumped bail, he has added more criminal content to his lie and therefore he is now physically in Bayelsa, that fact cannot be controverted.  So, what has to be done is that the man is illegally in Bayelsa having jumped bail, so the best thing is to go to S.188 of the constitution, and remove him for gross misconduct.

It can be done. What is important today is that the state assembly should save its name, save its integrity by removing this man from office as quickly as possible so that the sense of justice for which Nigeria is noted will be revived and resurrected.  But right now, the presence of Alamieyeseigha in this country today is a sore on our integrity, it is a disgrace to the PDP and is a disaster to our territorial integrity.  We donít want excellencies in crime to govern this country, we want honest people to govern this country.

Since the crime was committed overseas and not Nigeria, donít you think the Bayelsa State House of Assembly may find it difficult to find any act of misconduct against him?  There is nothing in S.188 that says that gross misconduct must be within Nigeria, gross misconduct is gross misconduct. This man by remaining in Nigeria against the order of British Court is gross misconduct committed in England which has now extended to Nigeria because his physical presence in Nigeria is an extension of the gross misconduct perpetrated in England. so, he is here with illegality, by going through an illegal means of getting to this country, is also great misconduct.
So, how do you expect the man to sit down there acting as a governor, signing bills under the constitution of Nigeria, giving orders as executive governor with his hands full of illegalities and be ordering payments of warrants to ministries and parastatals, doing what a governor should do when this manís hands are soiled, when he has lost the moral authority to govern the people., and you are saying that gross misconduct was committed only in England?  So, if somebody commits murder in Ghana and runs away from justice of Ghana and you say the misconduct was in Ghana and not in Nigeria because S.308 says he should not be arrested here, does he now have the moral authority to continue to govern his people when it is clear that he is in the country illegally? That his illegal presence in the country makes his conduct gross misconduct, not ordinary conduct.

He is staying in Nigeria illegally, he entered Nigeria illegally having been arrested and given bail in another country where he does not possess immunity.  Where are the professors who said he has immunity in Britain, why do they not prove their fake thesis, thesis of misguided conception, why did he not prove the so-called immunity which we all believe he did not have and we are shouting to the whole world to prove that this man did not have immunity in Britain and the people have said that you donít have immunity.

If he has immunity in Britain, he wouldnít have jumped bail, infact, he would not have been tried at all, because he has no immunity in Britain, that the alleged crime he perpetrated became a subject of court proceedings and when he knew he was on his way to prison, he ran away from justice and he came to Nigeria where he wants to hide under immunity under S.308 of the Nigerian Constitution.  But the constitution also says in S.188 that anybody can be removed as a governor, i.e. impeach, where he has committed an act of misconduct. This is grosser than the grossest misconduct one could ever conjecture: a governor arrested for money laundering, money taken from his own people, money that would have been used for the education of his own people, money that would have been used for the health of his own people, that would have been used for the employment of his own people, money that would have been used to promote welfare of his own people had been used otherwise by this man, laundered abroad, built houses upon houses and all the things of life which he wanted to enjoy for himself at the expense of his own people at home, the British people said no, you have laundered their money, you must account for it, he must be tried, he was granted bail, he jumped bail, to come and govern the same people?  Itís an abnormality, itís a disaster if such a thing can be allowed to happen.

There is a precedent in Plateau State House of Assembly, they were not able to remove Dariye, he is still there, ruling.
Yes, of course, yes, nobody is supporting Dariyeís continuation in office, nobody is saying he should be in office, we have been campaigning that he also should be removed. Let me tell you the cumulative effect of all these things, yesterday, it was Dariye flouting the bail condition of the police, today, it is Alamieyeseigha, who knows tomorrow? Day by day, we are cutting our noses to spite our faces, day by day, we are removing our justification for the continuation of democratic process, day by day, we are killing the democracy in this country, day by day, we are making it impossible for democracy to thrive in Nigeria, day by day, we are convincing the enemies of democracy that democracy does not work in Nigeria, day by day, we are showing to the people of this country that democracy has not brought any good thing to Nigerian people, day by day, we are itching towards the destruction of democracy by those officials and those who are in government in this country. So, it is democracy that has paid the final price but of course, we all will suffer for it if we do not sustain this democratic process. I tell you, we have had a long spell of undemocratic regime, donít let us go back to it.

In this circumstance, what do you expect the Federal Government to do, do you expect the Federal Government to hand him over to the British police?
The Federal Government should operate through the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thereís no way the Federal Government will arrest him through the police or through the army, or the navy or the airforce because of S.308 which gives immunity to him, that is the problem we are facing in this country, people are stealing in the name of S.308, people are committing heinous crimes in the name of S.308, people are killing democracy in the name of S.308. So, this immunity clause we have in our constitution is a disaster that will probably disorganise the democratic process in our country.  So, therefore, the best the Federal Government can do, since the Federal Government is also a government controlled by the PDP and Bayelsa government is a government controlled by the PDP, the Federal Government should do everything through the PDP members in the state assembly of Bayelsa to remove this man by impeachment.

But let me say this again, you know the polity is charged now, the atmosphere in the polity is charged, the polity is on a road to disaster.  Now, it has disrupted the entire setting of government in the country today, Nigerians are not happy, things are in topsy turvy, the PDP is in chaos, Mr. President has introduced a new dimension into the crises of this country, more fundamental than that of Alamieyeseigha, so with the third term crisis of Mr. President, I donít think he has the strength to fight.  So, I will advice Mr. President straight away to drop his third term ambition because obviously, that is a dangerous threat to democracy.  Coupled with Alamieyeseigha, if Mr. President does not drop his third term plan, all these are conspiring to ruin our democratic process and they will pay the supreme penalty for causing the collapse of democracy that we have in this country today.  So, Mr. President too has weakened the polity by his third term bid and now Alamieyeseigha has compounded the problem. So, we are in chaos, chaos and chaos!  Crisis, crisis, crisis!  Only God knows where this will end.

Finally, the man ironically was welcomed by a  tumultuous crowd. What does that tell you about the people themselves?
Iím not worried about this so-called arrangee affair. You saw a programme recently by one of the TV stations (Channels), recently, you would see the cover story, the poverty in Bayelsa, how people are buying one litre of petrol for N100 and in some area, Nembe, they are buying one litre of petrol for N200.  You can see abject poverty furrowed in their faces, you can see abject poverty surrounding them.

They live in poverty, they drink poverty, they eat poverty all over. It does take how many thousand or a few millions to gather the people to be chanting slogans they donít  know and they cannot comprehend. There is nothing bribery and corruption cannot project and promote in Nigeria. So corruption is the bane of our society today, it, of course, influences some people, it distorts their perception.  So, Iím not worried about the so-called tumultuous welcome, it is a tumultuous crowd bought by money.


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