News / Africa

Diaspora Group Criticizes Nigerian President’s Pardons

Nigerian incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan cast his ballot in Otuoke, Nigeria, April 16, 2011.Nigerian incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan cast his ballot in Otuoke, Nigeria, April 16, 2011.
x
Nigerian incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan cast his ballot in Otuoke, Nigeria, April 16, 2011.
Nigerian incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan cast his ballot in Otuoke, Nigeria, April 16, 2011.
James Butty
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s pardons last week of four individuals, including former Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, continue to stir negative reaction.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland described the pardons as a setback in the fight against corruption.  

The Council of Ogoni Professionals International, a Nigerian diaspora group in the United States, also disagreed with the pardons.  

Council member Anslem John-Miller said, instead of pardoning corrupt officials and giving amnesty to militants, Jonathan should have called for a judicial review of the trial and conviction of environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa. 

Saro-Wiwa and his Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) campaigned for greater control over oil and gas resources on Ogoni land and against environmental devastation.

Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogonis were executed in 1995.  John-Miller said he contributed to the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.

"It’s not that we are totally against individuals being pardoned by the federal government, but we feel that individuals who have been convicted of a certain crime, particularly corruption, should have been made to face the consequences of their actions so as to serve as a deterrence to others," he said.

John-Miller said, by pardoning people like Alamieyeseigha, the federal government is leaving an impression that it is not serious about the country’s ongoing fight against corruption.

Butty interview with John-Miller
Butty interview with John-Milleri
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Doyin Okupe, Jonathan’s senior special assistant on public affairs was quoted as saying that Alamieyeseigha had been adequately punished for his action, and that he had been playing a quiet role in helping to stabilize the volatile Niger Delta region.

"You don’t just jump up to pardon people.  There should have been a judicial panel to review the charges against the individual and then, on the basis of the recommendation of the judicial panel, the charges can then be dismissed or those individuals can be pardoned," John-Miller said.

He said Jonathan should have called for a judicial review of the case of Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogonis.

“This was a man [Saro-Wiwa] and other Ogonis who were killed unjustly by the Abacha military regime.  In fact, the issue of the Niger Delta is where it is today because of the effort of Ken Saro-Wiwa.  And it is an indisputable fact, and undeniable fact, that Ken Saro-Wiwa remains a prisoner of conscience until the day he died.  Why is it that the Jonathan Administration has refused to do anything about the case of Ken Saro-Wiwa," John-Miller said.

He said his group is not calling for Jonathan to pardon Saro-Wiwa and the eighth other Ogonis because they believe Saro-Wiwa and the others were unjustly convicted and hanged.

"We cannot say he should be pardoned, and we not in the position to beg the Jonathan administration to do that because the Jonathan administration is there today because Ken Saro-Wiwa contributed immensely to the restoration of democracy in Nigeria, and the Ogoni have not benefited anything from the present administration, and it is high time that the government takes proactive steps to address the Ogoni Bill of Rights," he said.

The Ogoni Bill of Rights was presented to the Nigerian government in 1990.  It called for political autonomy to participate in the affairs of the Republic as a distinct and separate unit, provided that this autonomy guarantees political control of Ogoni affairs by Ogoni people; the right to control and use a fair proportion of Ogoni economic resources for Ogoni development; and, the right to protect the Ogoni environment and ecology from further degradation.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: abiamone from: London
March 18, 2013 7:08 AM
State or Presidential pardon is Jonathan's prerogative. But given that Nigeria's number one enemy today is corruption, it is wrong to pardon anybody whose crime is corruption. Diepreiye Alamieyeseigha jumped bail in London. His crime bordered on corruption and money laundering. It is foolhardy to grant him pardon now when he has not atoned for his crime. Jonathan might as well have granted amnesty to James Ibori, who is now in a London jail for his own crimes. Only a corrupt president can grant amnesty to corrupt politicians.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs