Alamieyeseigha released, re-arrested
Deputy says governor denied consular services
From Willie Etim, Yenagoa
MORE intrigues were yesterday recorded in the on-going travails of Bayelsa State governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha in the United Kingdom (UK) as he was re-arrested after being ordered released by a magistrate's court in East London.
The Guardian learnt that a plea for his freedom by the governor's counsel, Fidelis Oditah, Q.C., SAN, had been accepted by the magistrate, who consequently ordered that the embattled governor's seized travelling papers be returned.
The development came on a day Alamieyeseigha's deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, alleged that the Federal Government was denying the governor consular services in London.
President Olusegun Obasanjo had last week been reported to have instructed the Nigerian High Commissioner in the UK, Dr. Christopher Kolade, to ensure full consular services for Alamieyeseigha.
The governor's lead counsel yesterday expressed concern over the Police action.
Oditah, in a statement, disclosed that the governor secured the reprieve but was immediately re-arrested in questionable circumstances.
The statement disclosed that Alamieyeseigha "went to the Red Bridge Magistrate's Court in East London, England, to seek a declaration that under the laws of England, the Police has no power to grant him conditional bail, pending further investigations."
He contended that the Police had "no power to impose conditions of residence in the United Kingdom" on Alamieyeseigha as a "precondition for the grant of bail to the governor pending the conclusion of Police investigations."
Oditah continued: "To the extent that the Police imposed the residence conditions, they acted unlawfully and without authority, with the result that the governor was entitled to unconditional bail, and to have his passport returned to him so that he could leave the United Kingdom once he has finished recuperating."
The statement disclosed that the plea succeeded. His words: "The Court accepted the argument and declared that the Police has no power to grant the governor conditional bail."
He added: "By imposing conditions on his bail, since September 15th 2005, the police had kept the governor in England unlawfully, in breach of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights."
Oditah disclosed further: "The Metropolitan Police were clearly rattled and surprised."
He said: "As the governor was leaving the court premises, he was re-arrested. We believe that the re-arrest is not without its difficulties and await the next move by the Police."
Oditah added: "The governor has not been charged with any offence."
Jonathan, who spoke with reporters in Yenagoa yesterday, said that those services were yet to be provided for the governor and wondered why things were left that way.
"Our thinking was that even if Chief Alamieyeseigha were to be an ordinary Nigerian citizen enmeshed in a crisis of this nature, he would still have been entitled to those services not to talk of when he is an elected governor of one of the 36 component states of the federation, especially when the allegations around which the issue revolves are yet to be proven," he said.
According to the deputy governor, the whole incident is a dirty slap on the sovereignty and integrity of Nigeria and its root cause is at variance with the very fundamental pillars of democracy.
The deputy governor said that between the day of the governor's arrest and now, so much of illegality had been published by a cross-section of the media with a bias, which springs mainly from a lack of understanding of the issues involved and a misleading belief that the allegation upon which the governor was being humiliated in London had been proven.
Jonathan promised to keep Nigerians informed of developments as they relate to the episode.
He, however, commended the people of Bayelsa State for their show of solidarity and the philosophical calmness with which they had swallowed the bitter pill of the governor's arrest. He urged them to remain peaceful and go about their businesses, saying that the truth would vindicate Governor Alamieyeseigha.
----------\Alamieyeseigha granted bail, re-arrested
Femi Makinde, Dan Ighodalo, Bisi Olaniyi, Musikilu Mojeed
A London magistrate court on Tuesday ordered the Metropolitan Police to release the international passport of Bayelsa State governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
This followed an application brought before the Red Bridge Magistrate Court in London by Alamieyeseigha’s counsel, Prof. Fidelis Oditah.
However, the reprieve was short-lived as the governor was re-arrested immediately by the British anti-fraud police.
Oditah, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had gone to the court to argue that the bail condition imposed on the governor by the police be varied because they (police) had no power to do so.
The court consequently upheld the argument, ordering that Alamieyeseigha’s passport be released.
Oditah, in a statement made available to The PUNCH, said, “The Metropolitan Police were clearly rattled and supprised.
“As the governor was leaving the court premises, he was re-arrested.
“We believe that the re-arrest is not without its difficulties and await the next move by the Police.
“The governor has not been charged with any offence.”
A source close to the Bayelsa State Government said Alamieyeseigha was not re-arrested at the court premises but on his way to see one of his friends within London.
On Tuesday, the Acting Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Preye Wariowei, accused Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Britain, Dr. Christopher Kolade, of failing to heed President Olusegun Obasanjo’s directive that his boss be provided with full consular services.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has formally received the report of the arrest of the Governor.
The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who met with the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, and other National Working Committee members for close to an hour, also submitted a written report on the arrest of the governor.
Jonathan, declined to speak on his mission to the PDP secretariat, but he was reported to have pleaded with the party to first “hear from Alamieyeseigha before taking a position on the matter.”
He was also said to have assured the NWC that the PDP was intact in the state in spite of the absence of the governor.
Alamieyeseigha was arrested on September 15 over alleged money laundering.
THE PUNCH, Wednesday September 28, 2005