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Alamieyeseigha arrested, handcuffed

Posted by John Alechenu (Kano), Soni Daniel, Bisi Olaniyi (Yenagoa), Olayinka Oyebode and Sesan Olufowobi on 2005/12/10 | Views: 2025 |

Alamieyeseigha arrested, handcuffed


It was a shameful end for Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was impeached on Friday by the State House of Assembly, as he was led in handcuffs into the Force Headquarters, Abuja.

It was a shameful end for Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was impeached on Friday by the State House of Assembly, as he was led in handcuffs into the Force Headquarters, Abuja.


Alamieyeseigha, who was arrested in Yenogoa, the state capital, was immediately flown to Abuja. He was shown on the network news on Nigerian Television Authority at 9pm alighting from a helicopter in handcuffs.


The helicopter that conveyed him and another arrived the Force Headquarters at exactly 5pm. Two minutes later, the former governor was accompanied into the complex by senior police officers.


Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Police Commissioner, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, has explained how he led 200 riot policemen and some soldiers to arrest Alamieyeseigha at Government House, Yenagoa on Friday.


His arrest was made immediately after he was impeached by the House of Assembly.


In an interview with the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), monitored in Kano, Ringim said the governor’s arrest was quite easy as he did not offer any resistance.


Ringim, who spoke on telephone with BBC from his office at the headquarters of the state police command in Yenagoa, said, “ As I am talking to you now, he is eating groundnuts and banana. I did not carry a whip or handcuffs when I went to arrest him. He was of the best of behaviour. As I am speaking to you now, I spoke to him and he is in high spirits.”


A report by Agence France Presse quoted the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Oronto Douglas, as saying that the police commissioner led a contingent of 200 armed policemen to the Government House, Yenagoa at about 7 am. The leader of the Joint Task Force in the state, Lieutenant Colonel A. S. Maikobi, accompanied the police commissioner.


Our correspondents gathered that before his arrest, armed soldiers and policemen had taken over the Government House, Yenagoa and restricted the movement of persons into the complex.


Military men, backed by armoured tanks and other automatic weapons, cordoned off the road leading to the Government House and the house of assembly.


The governor was reportedly arrested at the Government House in the presence of his aged parents, who had come to see him there since security men had restricted Alamieyeseigha’s movement at the beginning of the week.


The former governor, who spotted a pale-coloured long sleeve shirt on a pair of brown trousers, did not resist arrest when Ringim and his team entered his residence and asked him to follow them.


The team, reportedly ordered everyone in Alamieyeseigha’s residence, including his security aides, to leave the room. The law enforcement agents then took him away in the official vehicle of the police commissioner.


The police boss said: “I am convinced that the ex-governor was aware that the game was up for him as there was nowhere else to run to.” Ringim hinted that the governor, who jumped bail in London and returned to Nigeria on November 21, could be extradited because of an existing treaty between Britain and Nigeria.


Ringim said, “Before he is extradited, there are procedures that would be followed. If the government of the United Kingdom asks for him, this process will have to be followed.”


He, however, said that from his personal experience at the International Criminal Police (Interpol), he had a first hand knowledge that the process was long and tiresome. He noted that the British had issued a warrant for the governor’s arrest anywhere he was found only yesterday (Thursday).


However, in a separate interview on BBC’s English service, Ringim declined a request by the radio station to speak with the governor.


Reacting to the development, a spokesman for the British High Commission told AFP that he was not aware of any move to send the governor to the UK. “It is a UK warrant, not an international warrant. I’m not aware of any move to seek his extradition,” he said.


Similarly, the Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, welcomed the governor’s removal from office. He said the action of legislators in Bayelsa State had projected the nation’s image positively.


He was quoted by BBC as saying, “The removal of the governor shows we are following the rule of law and due process. It has restored our dignity as a nation. What is left is for him to be investigated and the law will take its course.”


Exactly 19 days after Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, fled London and resurfaced in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on Friday stripped him of the authority to preside over the affairs of the state.


By a simple majority of 17 out of 24 members, the lawmakers impeached the governor, after adopting the report of the seven-member probe panel, instituted by the state Chief Judge, Justice Emmanuel Igoniwari, last Monday.


The panel had earlier submitted its verdict of guilt to the lawmakers.


Alamieyeseigha, who was arrested in London on September 15, 2005, for alleged money laundering, escaped from London and reappeared in Yenagoa on November 21, 2005, describing his escape as “a mystery”.


The governor was kept at the office of the police commissioner for over an hour, during which he was interrogated on various issues.


Ringim later told journalists that the governor had lost his immunity with the impeachment and would be formally charged with criminal offences.


Ringim said, “Chief Alamieyeseigha is now an ordinary citizen like you and I and we are going to charge him for criminal offences.


Alamieyeseigha was driven out of the police headquarters in Ringim’s official Peugeot saloon car, marked NPF 04-046 at 12.43 pm, accompanied by an armoured tank, many soldiers and riot policemen.


Sources said he was being taken away to Abuja where he would be formally arraigned on various counts, bordering on money laundering.


The lawmakers, who terminated Alamieyeseigha’s 78-month-old tenure within an hour’s deliberation, relied on the report of the panel led by Serena-Dokubo Spiff. The report indicted the former governor on two grounds of the 10-count charge as contained in the impeachment notice of November 29, 2005.


The report, which was unanimously endorsed by all the seven members, had stated that the governor committed an offence by jumping bail and refusing to inform the members of the house of assembly of his travails in London.


Serena-Dokubo Spiff said that what they submitted was only the first part of the panel’s report, adding that they would turn in the second part in due course.


The house, which started deliberations at 9.55am, first lifted the suspension order on one of the four members, Mr. Dudafa Waripamowei, representing Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituency 2, through a motion by Nadu Karibo (Ogbia 1) and seconded by Mr. Franklin Otele (Yenagoa 3).


Waripamowei was ushered in at 10.02 am, thus increasing the number of the pro-impeachment lawmakers to 17, while the panel’s chairman was later brought in to present his report at 10.05am.


Addressing the house, the Speaker, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi, said Alamieyeseigha remained impeached as the governor of the state and asked the state Chief Judge, Justice Emmanuel Igoniwari, to immediately inaugurate the Acting Governor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, as the substantive governor.


Ebebi said that urgency was needed in inaugurating Jonathan since the state was in comatose and appealed to the Federal Government to keep the troops in Yenagoa and its environs to protect lives and property in the state.


The whereabouts of key officials of state, including commissioners, was unknown as they were said to have gone into hiding.


The speaker added that their action was to salvage Bayelsa and return it to the path of honour and development.


Members of the house, which adjourned indefinitely at 10.52am, left in a 32-seater unmarked Toyota Coaster bus they came in along with 14 other vehicles manned by soldiers and riot policemen to an unknown destination.


Saturday PUNCH, December 10, 2005

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Comments (8)

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Obinna(Newark Nj)says...

I want to know more meaning and significant of this name obidike in igboland

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.