Posted by By Dapo Olufade, Emmanuel Amaize & Samuel Oyadongha on
NIGERIA has formally protested to the British authorities over the recent escape of Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State from London where he was standing trial for money laundering.
LAGOS—NIGERIA has formally protested to the British authorities over the recent escape of Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State from London where he was standing trial for money laundering.
President Olusegun Obasanjo in a November 23, 2005 letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair called attention to what he described as unclear and confusing police security in the UK that made the governor’s escape possible.
It is most unbelievable, he said, that someone facing prosecution in London for a criminal offence could beat security at the airport at a time when all hands are on the deck globally to check terrorism.
He was particularly shocked that nobody in Britain informed Nigeria that the governor had escaped.
“I had to call our High Commissioner in London to inform the Metropolitan Police,” he said, adding: “You can, therefore, appreciate why we cannot understand this development, the second of such a situation, given the global reputation of the British security agencies for thoroughness, efficiency and effectiveness.”
Nigeria, he said, cherished its relationship with the UK and hoped it will continue to grow from strength to strength. He also said Abuja needed assurances of London that such an incident would not occur in future.
Alams counters plot to sack him
However, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, which, last Tuesday, served Governor Alamieyeseigha an impeachment notice is still keeping the governor guessing over his fate as Vanguard learnt, yesterday, that the House may not sit today contrary to speculations that it would, after a week of political cross-fire.
The governor met with the nine legislators in his camp, loyal party chieftains and key aides, weekend, to perfect the strategy to counter the plot of the 15 lawmakers who have vowed that there is no going back on the impeachment.
One of the 15 anti-Alamieyeseigha lawmakers told Vanguard, yesterday, on condition of anonymity: “We are not going to sit tomorrow (today). It will be on Tuesday.”
Asked whether the House would deliberate on the impeachment notice when the governor has not responded to the allegations contained in it, he said: “Well, since he does not want to respond to the allegations, claiming that he has not been served, we will ask the Chief Judge of the state to constitute a seven-man panel to look into the allegations first. I cannot really say how the whole thing will go until we get to Bayelsa.”
As at last Friday, there was information that some people wanted to kidnap the chief judge and compel him to raise a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations contained in the impeachment notice. “I know that the governor is meeting with his men and his lawyers have told him to pretend that he has not received the impeachment notice, but we will decide what to do when we sit. The facts are very clear. There is no way he can run away from them,” he said.
A Government House source told Vanguard: “The governor is optimistic that the lawmakers would backpedal on the impeachment move because it is not really their idea but the game plan of powerful forces who want to tear down the state.”
It was gathered that the foot soldiers of the governor have reached out to some of the 15 lawmakers to lobby them to drop the impeachment bid but nothing concrete has come out of the move yet.
According to one of the lawmakers, “it is true that the governor’s camp has been making overtures to some of us but we told his emissaries who contacted us on phone to tell the governor to respond to the allegations contained in the motion on notice we sent to him.”
The Bayelsa House of Assembly complex was still under tight police security, yesterday. Vanguard observed that a police truck was stationed inside with security men patrolling the premises. The police, it was gathered, do not want a situation where somebody would come in and plant a bomb in the complex and so, everything is being done to ensure that the Assembly is safe.
Church service for him
Meanwhile, Governor Alamieyeseigha, yesterday, attended his first church service since he returned to the country, last Monday, from London to worship and thank God for bringing him back in one piece to the country.
Top government functionaries accompanied the governor who was in high spirit during the service held at the King of Glory Chapel, Government House, Yenagoa.
He did not, however, make any comment. He listened with rapt attention to the man of God, Pastor Emmanuel Kure who came from Kaduna. Pastor Kure told the congregation that he was not invited by the governor to come and launder his image but he would visit Aso Villa to meet with President Olusegun Obasanjo on the governor’s plight.
He commended the president for his battle against corruption but advised that it should not be selective and called on Bayelsans to be prayerful.
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