Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, a forum of civil society organisations, has demanded the arrest and extradition of former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Dipreye Alamieyeseigha, to the United Kingdom to enable him face fresh criminal charges.
Condemning the recent state pardon granted Alamieyeseigha by President Goodluck Jonathan, the forum said it violated international treaty obligations.
In a meeting in Abuja on Thursday, members of the group noted that there was the need to “arrest and extradite Alamieyeseigha to the UK to face trial on charges totally unrelated to the offences for which he got convicted and pardoned in Nigeria”.
Mr. Clement Nwankwo of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, who spoke on behalf of the group noted that although the constitution gave Jonathan the powers to pardon convicts, the amnesty granted Alamieyeseigha violated international treaty obligations.
“The Situation Room recognised that while the President has powers to pardon convicts under section 175(1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, this power has been exercised by the President in violation of Nigeria’s international treaty obligations.
“The Situation Room notes that Alamieyeseigha, in addition to being convicted in Nigeria, also has an international warrant of arrest issued by the UK authorities around the world for his arrest and extradition to face trial for charges that are still pending in the UK.
“In other words, Alamieyeseigha is an international fugitive from justice.”
While the forum noted that the pardon undermined the anti-corruption campaign, the Predident’s action was also linked to nepotism.
“Presidential pardon in this case seemed to have been granted for personal reasons by a President acting only to please his benefactor and kinsman,” Nwankwo added.
“The Situation Room noted that the current administration rode to power on the back of a so-called transformation agenda, which includes commitment to initiate or direct policies and programmes aimed at addressing corruption.
“Unfortunately, this administration has been bedeviled by fraud and corruption scandals.
“The pardon granted Alamieyeseigha goes to show that this administration not only has no intention of fighting corruption, but has also set the country back in terms of gains made by previous administrations in the fight against corruption.”
On security situation, the forum urged the President to resign “if he is unable to deliver”.