Thursday, July 19, 2007
Former Governor deported from Dubai
Former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, has been deported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he was taken for medical treatment few weeks ago.
Alamieyeseigha’s deportation, about two weeks ago, by the United Arab Emirates authorities was allegedly prompted by a security breach involving the ex-governor.
However, the Ijaw Monitoring Group punctured the claim on Wednesday accusing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which has been prosecuting him for alleged money laundering offences of being the mastermind of the ex-Bayelsa chief executive’s return to the country.
Alamieyeseigha, who is being detained at the Ikoyi, Lagos detention centre of the EFCC was flown to Dubai for proper medical treatment after his health deteriorated at the EFCC detention following multiple surgeries he undertook when he traveled to Germany in 2005.
An Ijaw activist and National Coordinator of the Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG), Comrade Joseph Eva, who spoke to Daily Sun on the development on Wednesday accused the EFCC of going to Dubai to harass UAE authorities to deport Alameiyeseigha even when he was still undergoing treatment.
According to him, "the Federal government of Nigeria through EFCC went to the extent of threatening the Dubai authorities with diplomatic row if they fail to deport someone that was still on the hospital bed."
Dapo Olorunyomi, Chief of Staff to EFCC chairman, though confirmed Alamieyeseigha’s return to the country, denied allegations made by the IMG that the commission instigated his deportation.
The Ijaw activist further disclosed that since he was forcefully evicted from his hospital bed in Dubai, the EFCC had taken hold of Alamieyeseigha and had since kept him in a cell without mattress at the commission’s detention centre in Lagos.
While alleging that Alamieyeseigha is presently chained to an iron rod in his cell and made to sleep on bare floor, Eva further alleged that the former governor had been denied access to family members and his doctors.
... and EFCC responds
EFCC spokesman, Osita Nwajah, said in a statement weekend in Abuja , that Alamieyeseigha, who is standing trail over alleged financial misappropriation and money laundering, was taken to the UAE for medical treatment and on completion of the course of treatment, was discharged by the hospital.
He did not, however, clarify whether the former governor returned to the country on his own, or if the Nigerian authorities including the EFCC, was involved in the process of his return to the country. The statement reads:
“ The attention of the EFCC has been drawn to newspaper publications of Thursday, 19 July 2007, relating to the alleged orchestrated ‘deportation’ and inhuman treatment of DSP Alamieyeseigha, former executive governor of Bayelsa State, who is remanded by order of court, in the custody of the Commission.
"Several of the papers led with the insinuation that the Nigerian authorities acting through the Commission, may have instigated the eviction of Mr. Alamieyeseigha, for ostensible 'security breach'.
"EFCC wishes to state in clear terms, that there is no strand of truth in these insinuations and allegations.
"The Commission wishes to further clarify that Alamieyeseigha, who is standing trial was taken to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for medical treatment and on completion of his course of treatment, was discharged by the hospital.
"The Nigerian authorities (including the EFCC) did not suggest or teleguide the UAE medical and other authorities to send the accused person back to Nigeria .
"Further, the Commission decries the attempt by one Joseph Eva ostensibly speaking on behalf of the Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG), to employ the instrumentality of cheap blackmail to railroad the judiciary into a predetermined position and confuse the Nigerian people.
"IMG’s allegation that since his return, Alamieyeseigha has been “chained to an iron rod in his cell, made to sleep on the bare floor and denied access to his family members and doctors,” is to say the least, tendentious and wicked.
"EFCC has NEVER chained anyone in its holding facilities, has no need to chain anyone and will never chain anyone, least of all, DSP Alamieyeseigha, who it must be restated, is in the custody of the Commission on order of court.
In the same vein, Alamieyeseigha, like any other accused person in the custody of the Commission is given all social, medical and legal facilities as stipulated by law.
"Attention-seeking and mischief-engineering individuals and groups are reminded of that cheap blackmail has never worked on EFCC. The Commission will continue to carry out its functions in the best traditions of law enforcement and fully within the ambit the Rule of Law”.