Police bail for Alamieyeseigha's wife

By Dapo Olufade
Posted to the Web: Thursday, November 10, 2005

*Why we oppose Bayelsa gov's return —FG

LONDON—Margaret Alamieyeseigha, wife of the
embattled Governor Diepreye Alameieyeseigha, who
was arrested Tuesday in London for alleged money
laundering is back in her London residence on
police bail.
Mrs Alamieyeseigha was picked up following the
alleged discovery of £435,000 found in her
section of the governor’s London residence
during a September search by the London
Metropolitan Police.
The governor reportedly denied ownership of the
Full text of FG's affidavit

But the Federal Government says the crimes of
money laundering and corruption levelled at the
governor are capable of underming the nation’s
economy and the “very existence of the society.”

In an affidavit sworn to in London, the
Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice
Minister, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN) said: “I am the
Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of
Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. By
virtue of section 150(1) of the Constitution of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (hereinafter
referred to as the Constitution), I am the Chief
Law Officer of the Nigerian Federation and a
Minister of the Government of the Federation. By
virtue of section 174 of the said constitution I
have the power to institute and undertake
criminal proceedings against any person before
any court of law in Nigeria, other than a court
martial, in respect of any offence created under
any act of the National Assembly.
“To take over and continue any such criminal
proceedings that may have been instituted by any
other authority or power. To discontinue at any
stage before judgment is delivered any such
criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by
him or any other authority or person.

“It is my belief that the Hon. Taford Ongolo who
is the Attorney-General and Commissioner for
Justice of Bayelsa State, is also an accomplice
in the case against the governor. I can confirm
that he is being investigated with other
prominent Bayelsa State officials by the
Economic amd Financial Crimes Commission of
Nigeria for money laundering activities. I can
also confirm that this is a current on-going
investigation within Nigeria being conducted by
the EFCC.
“Further to my statement dated the 3rd November
2005, I would like to add that I have travelled
to the United Kingdom and arrived on the 2nd
November 2005. I have travelled here specifically
to deal with the current case concerning Chief D.
S. P. Alamieyeseigha.

“As an appointed officer of the Nigerian
government, I would like to state that the
government of Nigeria confirms that it is not
imperative for the governor to return to Nigeria
and we would wish for him to remain in the United
Kingdom and stand trial. It is far more
important for the governor to remain here and
stand trial than return to Nigeria. The state of
Bayelsa is being run perfectly well in the
Governor’s absence by the Deputy Governor, who is
empowered by the Nigerian Constitution, with the
same power as a governor.

“I would like to state that in view of the fact
that the Governor would be entitled to immunity
under section 308 of the Nigerian Constitution
when he goes back to Nigeria, he may not be
willing to return to the United Kingdom to stand
trial. I believe this to be the case because
there is nothing that anybody can do to force him
to return to the United Kingdom once he sets foot
on Nigerian soil. I am aware that the AG of
Bayelsa State has indicated, he has a strong
influence over the Governor and would do his
utmost in order to make sure he returns to the
United Kingdom. I wish to say that this is not
correct as the AG of Bayelsa has no influence
whatsoever on the Governor just like I have no
influence over the President of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria. Moreso, as the Governor
could fire the AG of Bayelsa anytime he so

“I would also like to state that there is nobody
within the state of Bayelsa who could make sure
that the Governor returns to the United Kingdom
as the Governor is the Chief Executive of the
state and as such he determines whatever he
wishes to do.
“Section 308 of the Constitution merely restricts
legal proceedings against a state governor whilst
in office. The moment such a Governor is out of
office, such proceedings that have been hitherto
restricted can be brought against him or her. For
the avoidance of doubt, this section is not
intended to confer sovereign immunity on a
Governor. The only person that can lay claim to
sovereign immunity is the President of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria under the doctrine of
sovereign immunity in International Law and duly
accredited Nigerian Diplomats under the Vienna
Convention. The restriction on legal proceedings
against a serving President under Section 308 of
the Constitution does not extend beyond the
borders of Nigeria, a fortiori a state governor
cannot also enjoy the same outside Nigeria.

Section 305 of the Constitution gives the
President power to declare a state of emergency
in any part of the Federation of Nigeria,
including Bayelsa State if the situation so
warrants. If the Governor were truly sovereign
in Bayelsa State, as being claimed by the
Bayelsa State Attorney-General and Commissioner
for Justice, then the same Constitution would not
provide for the President to have the power or
ability to intervene in the affairs of the
Governor’s State or trump the Governor’s powers.
Moreover, the state has continued to function for
the last month and a half, successfully, without
the governor being at the helm of affairs.

“Corruption, money laundering and the proceeds
thereof have continued to be significant issues
being addressed by the Nigerian Government over
the past six years. Both crimes are regarded as
serious enough to undermine the Nigerian economy
and the very existence of the society.

“Since the arrest of the Governor in September
2005, the Deputy Governor who is empowered by the
Constitution to so do, has continued to act for
the Governor and run the day-to-day affairs of
Bayelsa State. As a result of the Governor’s
arrest, salaries of workers in the civil service
are being paid promptly, obligations to third
parties are being met and normal governance is
being carried on in Bayelsa State.
“As the Chief Law Officer for the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, I know that the
supplementary witness statement made by the Hon.
Taford Ongolo in completely irrelevant to the
current proceedings against the Governor in the
United Kingdom. I believe it is a calculated
attempt to delay the trial against the Governor.”

Bayelsa House denies sack move

Key members of the Bayelsa State House of
Assembly have dismissed as a far-fetched
possibility suggestions in some quarters that
the House may soon commence impeachment
proceedings against the Governor of the State,
Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha,.

“We cannot be used by anyone, however high up, to
embarrass the leader of the Ijaw nation and the
governor of the only Ijaw state who is currently
being prevented from returning home from London
on trumped-up charges and without due process.
“Since his illegal interception at the London
Heathrow Airport on September 15, 2005, the
British Police have continued to say they are
not ready to start the governor’s trial. What
this means is that they have no evidence. You
hold a man and then begin to look for evidence
against him. This is a slap on the Nigerian

They wondered why the Federal Government is so
desperate to remove Governor Alamieyeseigha at
all cost, so much so that after using the
British to effect his illegal and unwarranted
arrest, it sent the Federal Attorney-General,
Chief Bayo Ojo, to London to tell the court that
the governor was not wanted in Nigeria.

“By doing this, it is not Governor Alamieyeseigha
that is being humiliated, it is Nigeria that is
shaming itself in the eyes of the international
community. Instead of protecting its citizens
abroad, a government in power is virtually
begging another country to persecute a
law-abiding citizen. It is strange that this is
happening to a citizen against whom no crime has
been established.”
They hailed former NBA President, Chief Wole
Olanipekun and Professor Itse Sagay for the
singular courage to speak up against tyranny.
Both men have described the Federal Attorney
General’s London court appearance as unfortunate.

British police arrest Alamieyeseigha’s wife
WIFE of the embattled governor of Bayelsa State, Mrs. Margaret Alamieyeseigha, was on Tuesday arrested in London by men of the London Metropolitan Police.
Mrs. Alamieyeseigha, the Nigerian Tribune learnt, was subjected to interrogation by the London police over about £400,000 allegedly found in her room when her husband, Governor Alamieyeseigha’s house was searched by the police.
Governor Alamieyeseigha was said to have told the police that he never knew that his wife had so much money in her room. This remarks consequently got the police interested in knowing how the governor’s wife got the money and what she does for a living.
Mrs. Alamieyeseigha, who is said to be very ill and in an emotionally frail state since the September 15 arrest of her spouse on his way to Nigeria after medical treatment in Germany, was later released after the police had collected some information from her, apparently in their preparation for the resumption of the money laundering case preferred against the governor in court.
The arrest and subsequent interrogation of Mrs. Alamieyeseigha may not be unconnected with the fact that the London police may want to prefer charges against her during the next court session.
Reacting to the incident, the press secretary to the governor’s wife, Ebi Avi, described it as disturbing, claiming that “it follows a familiar pattern of persecution being meted against the person and office of the Governor of Bayelsa State.
“We suspect that both the British and Nigerian governments want him to break down but we thank God, he remains in high spirits even in these trying times.”