Ijaw Nation Kicks Against Extradition of Alamieyeseigha, Accuses Sylva of Betrayal
There is disquiet in Bayelsa State polity and it all has to do with moves to extradite ex- governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha to the United Kingdom. A hint of intent for the extradition was dropped by UK authorities recently. Alamieyeseigha returned to the Nigeria in controversial circumstances, having disguised as a woman to evade being noticed while still in custody of British authorities.
He was subsequently granted pardon by President Goodluck Jonathan during his tenure, a gesture that has seen Alamieyeseigha circulating again and morphing back to his old status of power broker. But the UK authorities have fished out his file once again. Reports say they have requested for the extradition of the former governor to London to answer to charges of money laundering.
The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, was quoted as saying that the President Buhari-led government is prepared to assent to the request of the British Government. He said that the United Kingdom has every legal right to demand for the extradition of the former Bayelsa State Governor.
“The UK is in principle correct to be making such a request based on the fact that the crime was committed on the British soil. However, when there is delay in trial as a result of time, there may be consideration on legal grounds so that the trial is not seen as oppressive,” he said.
But the Chairman of the Bayelsa State caucus in the National Assembly, Foster Ogola, has condemned the plan in Yenagoa during a function where Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, was endorsed for a second term by several Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the civil society organisations. He raised posers on the rationale for the extradition notice by Britain.
According to him, the latest moves were suspicious, adding that Alamieyesiegha had gone through a legal process, prosecuted by a competent court of jurisdiction, indicted, sentenced and was granted presidential pardon.
“What is the basis of this new extradition having gone through all legal process culminating in a presidential pardon?”, he queried.
Ogola, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues in the National Assembly therefore called for restraint on the extradition moves in the interest of justice.
Also, Bayelsa State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Serena Dokubo-Spiff, condemned the extradition notice which, he said, smacked of high level conspiracy.
He accused the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state as brains behind the extradition plot which he regarded as a conscious step to destroy the Ijaw nation. This, he said, was unfortunate and a clear injustice.
He said: “The extradition notice smacks of high level conspiracy contrived by some powerful elements in the APC government, who are out to destroy the Ijaw nation. They plotted against our son, Mr. President and denied him the opportunity of returning to power and now they are after another noble son of ours in the person of DSP Alamieyesiegha. This injustice will not stand. How many times will a man be convicted for the same offence?”
The party chairman castigated the APC leadership in the state, saying its antics suggested that it was against the Ijaw nation and why the PDP has been telling the people to reject it at the polls.
“This election is not about Dickson but the collective interest of the Ijaw nation. From all indications, the APC is against the Ijaw nation and this is why our people must reject it”, he said.
On its part, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has reiterated its position on earlier statement about the extradition notice, warning that the Ijaw nation will not sit idly and watch its leaders disgraced by those it referred to as “cabals’ in the Buhari administration.
The statement said that the Buhari government was being selective in the fight against corruption, asking why no northerner has so far been invited to answer corruption charges nor extradited. Quoting a similar poser by the former Senate President Ken Nnamani, the IYC also asked why has Buhari not deemed it fit to prosecute those involved in the Halliburton scam.
Meanwhile, the APC governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva, has been fingered as the brain behind the extradition notice.
A reliable source who made the claim, said Sylva’s close working relationship with the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir David Lawal, facilitated the extradition moves.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said Sylva instigated the decision to include Alamieyeseigha’s name among those whose names were listed in the letter which President Muhammadu Buhari took along with him in his recent trip to the United Kingdom.
According to him, President Buhari handed the list to the UK authorities as persons to be investigated and invited for questioning and prosecution.
He alleged that former Petroleum Minister, Deziani Allison-Madueke’s name was top on the list and other cabinet members of the Jonathan administration.
The source was emphatic that Sylva had a close relationship with the SGF, stating that the outcome of the APC governorship primary was only possible because of the influence of the latter.
“To prove to you the strong link existing between Sylva and the SGF, you will recall that during the botched APC primaries, it was the SGF who directed the Inspector-General of Police to deploy the AIG that supervised the controversial election. Even with the reported violence which marred the primaries and indeed the threat to the life of Edo State governor, the AIG went on national TV to say the primaries was peaceful. So you can understand what’s at play”, he said.