News / Africa

    Nigeria Pardons Ex-Governor Jailed for Corruption

    Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha stands outside his house guarded by policemen in Yenagoa, Nigeria, in this photo dated November 27, 2005.
    Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha stands outside his house guarded by policemen in Yenagoa, Nigeria, in this photo dated November 27, 2005.
    Heather Murdock
    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has pardoned a former state governor who was convicted of stealing millions of dollars while in office. The move has sparked outrage among critics who say the president has abandoned the fight against corruption. 

    Former Governor of Bayelsa State in Nigeria, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, used to be President Goodluck Jonathan’s boss, and is described as a friend and mentor. In 2005 he was impeached after being convicted of corruption, having been accused of stealing millions of dollars before he was arrested in Britain.  A presidential advisor says on Tuesday he was granted a pardon and is now free to return to political life.
     
    Critics say pardoning the governor signals disrespect for the rule of law and an end to the president’s crusade against corruption in Nigeria.
     
    Transparency International ranks Nigeria as the 37th most corrupt country in the world.
     
    Presidential adviser Doyin Okupe says respect for rule of law includes respect for institutions created by the law, like the Council of States, which approved the presidential pardon.

    “We must begin to honor and respect institutions that were created by us," said Okupe. "Otherwise what is the point?  It’s like the parents. It is not everything the parents says that is acceptable to the children.  But in due course we always find out that the parents were right.”
     
    President Jonathan served as deputy to the former governor and has described him as a ‘political benefactor.’ Supporters say the pardon was an act of loyalty.  Critics say the pardon could have been a political move ahead of Nigeria’s upcoming 2015 presidential elections.

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    Comments
         
    by: Muhammad NaIya from: Zaria, Nigeria
    March 14, 2013 6:54 AM
    Naturally when the presidency acts like a provincial administration where issues are divided along regional/ethnic lines, this is an expected natural outcome.
    Unfortunately, this makes a mockery of the war against corruption especially coming hard on the heels of the unresolved Pension Fraud and |Ghost Workers on the Federal Payroll.

    by: Adamu Abdulkareem Biu from: Zaria, Nigeria
    March 13, 2013 1:26 PM
    You can imagine the type of leadership Nigeria has. What type of corruption is Nigeria fighting? releasing Alamieyesiagha means encouraging corruption, and increasing insecurity for my dear country. Because every evil minded person rich or poor will have the opportunity to continue to steal public fund and do all kind of atrocities. Is left to my fellow country men and women.Your faith is in your hands come 2015.

    by: nik from: US
    March 13, 2013 10:37 AM
    No wonder the people are fighting the government.
    In Response

    by: Ben Oludare from: Ibadan
    March 15, 2013 6:53 PM
    The president's action indicate that he was also involved in the looting of Bayelsa State treasury since he was the second-in-command during the period. Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, used to be President Goodluck Jonathan’s boss, and is described as a friend and mentor. This action has confirmed that we are being ruled by rubbers and tugs. [Remember FELA of blessed memory 'Animal dey wear agbada']. We should pray GOD to deliver us from them all.

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