EXCLUSIVE: Alamieyeseigha’s Pardon: America strikes as Bill Gates cancels planned official visit to Nigeria

Bill Gates.... Photo Credit: billgatesstrategies.com
Bill Gates.... Photo Credit: billgatesstrategies.com

America’s richest man, Bill Gates, has cancelled his scheduled March 27  official visit to Nigeria, in response to the controversial pardon granted by President Goodluck Jonathan to ex-convicts Diepreye Alamieyeseigha  and Shettima Bulama, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report today.

Mr. Gates was due in Nigeria March 27 and 28 to meet President Goodluck Jonathan, state governors and officials of the Federal Ministry of Health concerning the aggressive polio eradication campaign his Bill and Melinda Foundation is undertaking in the country.

That trip, authoritative diplomatic sources said, has now been cancelled, two days after the U.S. government expressed disappointment with its Nigerian counterpart for pardoning convicted money launderers and warned it might cut aid meant for the country.

“I can confirm to you that Mr. Gates won’t be coming as scheduled,” one of our sources told PREMIUM TIMES Monday morning. “The body language of Washington D.C. does not support his travelling to Nigeria.  The thinking here is that the Nigerian government has high tolerance level for corruption and should be ostracized in all ways possible.”

Our sources said Mr. Gates has already instructed his staff to inform the Nigerian presidency, the secretariat of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Federal Ministry of Health that he was no longer coming.

Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, did not answer or return calls seeking comment. Contacted, the Director General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Asishana Okauru, said he would have to check with his staff whether any such communication had come from Mr. Gates’ office. He did not answer or return subsequent calls. Mr. Gates’ office is not opened as at the time of this report as calls were unanswered.

But checks by this newspaper indicate that the U.S. government has dissuaded Mr. Gates from coming to Nigeria.

“The State Department has advised him that Nigeria is not conducive for such visit at this time,” another source said.  “We hope that the Nigerian government will get the message and return to the path of sanity.”

The controversial pardon granted Messrs Alamieyeseigha and Bulama had on Friday sparked fierce diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United States,  with the Americans threatening to punish Nigeria over Mr. Jonathan’s action and Nigeria accusing the Americans of meddlesomeness.

“We see this as a setback for the fight against corruption, and also for our ability to play the strong role we’ve played in supporting rule of law and legal institution-building in Nigeria, which is very important for the future of the country obviously,” State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, had told reporters in Washington.

 “We have made clear to the Nigerians that this puts a question mark on the kinds of work that we’ve been trying to do with them.”

The U.S. is the world’s top donor. In 2012, it spent about $226 million on health and governance programmes in Nigeria. And about $600million has been requested for 2013, according to U.S. government data. That is apart from what American private foundations such as Mr. Gates’ spend on Nigeria’s government and non-governmental organisations.

Mr. Gate is the biggest foreign supporter of the campaign to eradicate polio in Nigeria and has worked consistently with the Nigerian authorities since 2009 over the matter. His foundation has developed a six-year strategy through 2018 that will help combat polio in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan and donated $300m to the global fight against polio last year.

The bulk of that money is meant for Nigeria which currently has the highest cases of polio in the world.  Mr. Gates’ efforts has seen improvements which helped Pakistan reduce the number of polio cases from 198 in 2011 to 56 in 2012; and Afghanistan from 80 to 35 during the same period.

The situation in Nigeria worsened during the same period,  increasing from 62 in 2011 to 119 in 2012.

Jeff Raikes, CEO of the  Gates Foundation visited Nigeria in November 2012.  During that visit, his foundation entered into a four-year alliance with the Dangote Foundation which promised to provide funding, equipment and technical support to the Kano state government to strengthen polio immunisation.

He had scheduled this March’s visit to consolidate that alliance, meet with President Jonathan, state governors and other stakeholders with a view to generally revving  up the war against the pandemic.

  • http://twitter.com/OlusegunAdekoy2 Olusegun Adekoya

    Wow!!!!are you guys at Premium Times sane at all? Stocking up unnecessary anger in the populace with unverified reports is journalism at its worst. Bill Gate’s foundation is involved mainly in Nigeria in the health sector to reduce high mortality rate among pregnant women and help with eradication of polio.
    The sad part regarding this article is that ur many readers wldnt bother to check or reason logically before agreeing with this lie of a write up

    • Bunmi Asabi

      Olusegun Adekoya please think properly. The world is a global village. Diplomacy is both open and subtly open. Diplomacy is both openly expressed and subtly stated. Okay? This is a serious matter. Western societies are open societies and there is what you call OPEN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC NETWORKS. What do you think Bill Gates will gain personally by coming here-to Nigeria? NOTHING. Nigeria WILL GAIN BOTH MONETARILY AND IN TERMS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS. IN OTHER WORDS WE WILL BECOME VISIBLE IN THE WORLD AS AN EXAMPLE OF COUNTRY OTHER PEOPLES OF THE WORLD CAN VISIT. AND TRULY WE WANT RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE TO VISIT US JUST AS NIGERANS VISIT OTHER COUNTRIES. IT IS ONLY A MAD MAN THAT WILL NOT APPRECIATE THE HUMANITARIAN and SOCIAL VISITS OF VISITORS AND GUESTS TO HIS OR HER COUNTRY. And Bill is an American . If his country says “hey Bill help the world fight corruption by not visiting the KING CORRUPT OFFICER OF THE WORLD-PRESIDENT JONATHAN?” What do you think honorable men and women will do? In Bill’s position what will you do when you know THAT IT IS THE SAME CORRUPTION THAT PREVENTS NIGERIAN GOVT FROM WIPING OUT POLIO BECAUSE THE ELITES WASTE THE MONEY BY GOING ON SHOPPING SPREE IN NEW YORK, LONDON, PARIS ETC WITH THE MONEY WE NEED TO USE TO FIGHT POLIO? Of course you will not visit if you are sensible. Why ? Because CORRUPTION BREEDS POLIO because POLIO grows and festers in Nigeria because our elites STEAL THE MONEY WE NEED TO FIGHT POLIO. So please sit up Mr. Adekoya. I am a Nigerian citizen. My name is Bunmi Asabi. I SUPPORT FULLY (I) WHAT THE AMERICANS HAVE DONE. (II) I SUPPORT FULLY WHAT BILL GATES HAS DONE. GOD IN HIS INFINITE MERCIES WILL BLESS YOU BILL GATES AND MELINDA GATES FOR HELPING THE NIGERIAN WORKING PEOPLE IN THIS TRAGIC HOUR. Finally, I SUPPORT THE PROPOSED VISA RESTRICTION TO BE PLACED ON SELECTED NIGERIAN LEADERS AND MINISTERS. But I want America to do more. Many of these ministers hold American Green Cards. America, please withdraw those Green Cards. These Nigerian ministers DO NOT DESERVE YOUR GREEN CARDS. THEY ARE UNWORTYHY OF YOUR RESIDENCY. Thank you America. Thank you Bill Gates and Melinda Gates. We will overcome this tragic hour in our nation’s history.

    • tukur

      adeloya is an analog thinker.

  • ladex

    He shouldn’t come to nigeria.if the international communities start rebuking them,maybe they will sit tight.bunch of thieves.

    • Naijaa

      Bunch of thieves

  • Onos

    The US government should stop sending any aid to Nigeria because even the money send sofar can not be seen in the life’s of the Nigerian people. They should find another alternative affect the people of Nigeria not through the government since the People in government are corrupt.

  • Lanre Ake

    SMH!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mofealao Alao Moses

    How did we get here, first. Who would ever think he would ever be nepotic? This secondtimecraze na wa o.

    • blogNaija

      yes, president Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan don’t give a damn; he enjoys creating hopelessness. fuel subsidy, pension scam, right under his nose- HE DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN!

      • gbenga adeniyi

        sorry please add this and he has NO APOLOGIES to Nigerian citizens who “elected” him and the world!!!!! Can you beat that? And this man wants the world to take us seriously. Thanks Bill Gates. God bless you for doing this for humanity.

  • oink

    Sorry but isnt this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? Have we all so quickly forgotten that not so long ago a certain US president (Bill Clinton) pardoned a US billionaire (Mark Rich) that was found guilty of foreign corrupt practices (in Nigeria & other nations) and tax evasion in the US amongst other things. Marc Rich stole $60b never served jail time and was pardoned.

    • Atahiru Tijani

      okay, if that is the case let Nigerian ministers who hold American Green cards stop going to the “pot”-i.e America. Let the ministers who use our money to train their children in American universities-”the pot” ask their children to come back and school in Nigeria. let Mrs Jonathan stop going to “pot” countries (western countries) for medical care. Let Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke who visits Britain another”pot country for health stop going there. When the Nigerian ministers and elites do all these that is when we will know that “pot” is calling “kettle” black. We can then ask “pot” not to call “kettle” black. Why? It is the money that ministters like Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke steal and wasted using foreign visas that we need to wipe away polio. It is the money that characters like Alamieyeseigha launder that goes into drug and terrorism. Okay? That is the story of “pot” calling “kettle” black.

  • angryniger

    Bill Gates has done the right thing, of course he values his integrity and would not be seen to be consorting with corruption and evil. I wish GEJ would do likewise, GEJ does not bother and is not bothered that he surrounds him self with the scum of the earth, thieves, corrupt officials and looters of the treasury, Otedola, Alameisiaghe, Doyin Okupe his spokesperson, Tom Polo and co. Disgraceful. I think thr US sdhould withdraw the visa’s of these thieves in govt

    • blogNaija

      he DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN or have ANY APOLOGY. play that Fela song; it has rejuvenated even more in this present dispensation.

      when the Gates come to Aso Rock you will see them humming around him for what ever can drop- scavengers. they cannot be satisfied; oil money will not be enough, they want some more; like the graveyard. their daily meal can feed many families for a week or even a month. the snail in their pot of soup cost N10,000 a piece. they don’t eat in low class places!

      the cars they drive, the wheels can comfortably buy a car which will be appreciated by many. one term school fee for their children will pay the entire tuition for many children’s throughout a school set.

      everyday they need money to fly to dubai, singapore and US.

      obviously, they think they are more Nigerian than the Farmer in a local community in Agbor, the fisherman in the Abonema, or the Fulani man in Kafanchan – others are dispensable. it is a privilege to have an opportunity to alleviate the pains in the community. read about the Alexander the Great. no matter the conquer and acquisition all come comes to nothingness.

  • http://twitter.com/godfreytom2000 PeaceAmbassador

    I like my President. HE DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN. And then the country matches on (heading straight to a ditch). Bravo our Oga at the top.

    • Wale Akin

      Yes your president does not give a damn but how about the poor masses? Let’s see who will suffer for it.

      • http://twitter.com/godfreytom2000 PeaceAmbassador

        And u can even brag about it. The poor masses are already suffering. Very soon, people like you will suffer. Have you heard of Arab Spring before? This is how it started. At a point, the poor masses got fed up. That is why we are telling sychophants like you to advise your Oga at the top, so that he can advise his Oga.

        • Wale Akin

          You and you Family will suffer. Go and tell you blockhead president to quit office

          • http://twitter.com/godfreytom2000 PeaceAmbassador

            Thanks. I think he might listen if psychic sychophants join voices. To me, quitting office is not the answer. Policy overhaul in all areas is the answer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Preye-Aganaba/568511111 Preye Aganaba

    Where is the proof in this gossip report … a statement from bill gates will be the most appropriate thing to do instead of this them say them say story … liars

    • ekpene

      Preye, here President Jonathan’s online apologists claimed the initial tweet by the US MISSION in Nigeria condemning the immoral pardon was not true. We have since learnt that President Jonathan’s paid apologists are liars. here you come again, you call this ‘dem say”. By tomorrow when your Oga -President Jonathan begins to respond you will be shamed. As for me, this is trus and I support Bill gates and his wife for standing by Nigerian citizens on this issue. I appreciate your help Bill.

    • angryniger

      the proof is that Bill Gates cancelled his trip to nigeria, and he is currently in Ghana. The US spoke out against the pardon of Alams, and Bill Gates did the honourable thing, he avoided nigeria like a plague. Like they say, half a word is enough for the wise, he did not have to be told by his President not to come to Nigeria, he read his president;s body language.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ZethaNobles Zetha Chinaza Love Nobles

    Nigeria can afford to eradicate its own diseases. Stop looting the country and begging the west for support. The west leads the world in corruption. They just lie and hide it better.

    • Akindahunsi

      Yes Nigerian can afford to eradicate its own diseases. And President Jonathan, Mrs Diezani Alsion-Madueke and Mrs Jonathan all three should also STOP going abroad for medical treatment. As someone suggested, to exercise our “sovereignty” those ministers who hold American Green cards should please return them to the owners-the Americans. The children of our elites should STOP disgracing us by dying on queue in front of western embassies queuing for foreign visas. As for me I support the position of the US MISSION in Nigeria on this matter. I support Bill and Melinda Gates on this matter. Thanks Bill Gates to not coming. This should sent powerful signal to President Jonathan’s corrupt Presidency. there is a connection between money laundering/drug trafficking/terrorism. You can pardon a money launderer like Alamieyeseigha and you want the world to clap.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=792648188 Alozie Edozie

      Yes Nigeria can take care of Dame Patience Jonathan anytime she swallows her ear rings again! & Alams should not hav gone to Germany or where ever he had rub to that triggered this brouhaha… Yes, Chinaza, am sure we dont need to keep all those billions of dollars in foriegn countries! When u want to defend a confused president, u sure know how to do that!

    • Omo Odua

      Good my country fellow. But the point here is that, Bill Gates has right to respect his country’s decision, why? Because the country respect him! While we in Nigeria it is people like Alams and Bulama are respected period

  • Dr Fash

    Yes o!!! Punish the administration. We the populace agree with your (US, Gates) stand.

  • kelechi Ajoku

    It seems goodluck is gradually turning into BAD luck

    • angryniger

      not gradually, but he has turned to badluck

  • pat

    All these ones na grammar. As far as our President is concern, granting pardon to Alams is far more important than someone coming here to eradicate polio. If the children want to die, so it be. Who cares. Afterall they are not Mr president’s kids. All hail our president.

    • Chinyere

      Oh pat dat’s true oooo At least Madam Oil, Madam Petroluem pikin dey abroad. And My Oga pikin sef , you dat one dey abroad!!!

  • Bosede Adegbemile

    The Bill Gates decision is sensible. If he support the end of Polio financially and the Nigerian elites corner the money, what do you want him to do? Come here? Please think. I support Bill Gates and the position of the US MISSION in Nigeria on this matter. Let President Jonathan’s online paid apologists continue to delude themselves

  • Peter

    This one no be news at all. Next our Minister for Foreign affairs will summon america ambassador to come and explain what gives Bill Gates the audacity, temerity and effontry to cancel the trip. There after Okupe will condemn Bill Gates’ action and declare that the president doesn’t “give a damn”. Finally Abati will round up by saying it is “sophisticated cancelling”. Period

  • Bem Katungu

    This is a mischievous speculation. I thought there is a statement or release from Bill Gates or his spokesperson or even from American Embassy announcing the cancellation of the trip….There is nothing in tnhe body of the story to show that there was something like that.

    • KickBack

      Past “mischievous speculation” came true. So we stick with it!

    • Moses Adekunle

      Bem Katungu, Okay the US MISSION in NIgeria tweet was also “speculation”-abi? After it was said to be speculation it became true, and Oga had to respond. This is one too is speculation. Oga-President Jonathan will repsond tomorrow too . No problem. The point is after the Presidency has confirmed the speculation to be true-Oga President, Madam president-Mrs Jonathan, and Madam Oil, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke should be honorable enough to submit ALL THE FOREIGN VISAS in their hands to the owners-western countries. That is the best way to EXERCISE OUR SOVEREIGNTY.

  • Yusuf

    Do you know this was among the reason God detroyed the ruller of Egypt during Moses?
    It was mainly Arrogance, Pride and crossing all the boundaries set by God!
    Am not trying to preach to you but if you look at what our so called Leader and his sycophants are doing to their subjects and to the creator is becoming unbearable and uncomprehending.
    Can a good adviser reach Mr President and give him a wake up call, if they are thinking of destroying the country God will not let them. If they are making mistake let them do the right thing if not, God will surely intervene!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/deri.orbuka Deri Orbuka

    Which polio project-a scheme in which boko haram killed over 11 nurses and 2 doctors from the Philippines? so his money is tied to politics and not a humanitarian projects as we were made to believe-As for me I have never believed in this Nigerian project-Not even in Jonathan becoming president of Nigeria-cause our oppressors would never allow him rest! let Bill Gates go with his money-what was the re-action of the USA when the nurse and doctors where killed by boko haram-rubbish-Jonathan is justified in pardoning Alams-did Clinton not pardon his own brother for smuggling drugs into the USA? WHERE ARE THE GOVERNORS THAT RIBADI INDICTEDFOR STEALING OR SENT TO JAIL-THE ONLY ONE WE HAVE IS ALAMS-

    • Deinde Fadahunsi

      Deri, we know you do not believe in the Nigerian project. But you believe in money laundering/drug trafficking and terrorism-you know Alamieyesegha is a convicted money launderer. And there is link between money laundering/terrorism and drug trafficking. This link is well established so you do not need to dispute them. So I agree that you do not support a civil and civilised Nigerian project, and by that act and for your support for a criminal like Alamieyeseigha, you are in support of money laundering/drug trafficking and terrorism. I hope this is enough education for you. You can go back to pre-stone age period if you want.

    • Tonn

      Rom your comments Deri its pretty obvious u’r a deranged person, so there’s no point trying to make u see d real picture here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deri.orbuka Deri Orbuka

    The Fulani North have told us that they dont want this polio vaccines-as a result of which they murdered 11 nurse-and 2 doctors from the Philippines what has that got to do with bill gates oooh yee ACN and CPC agents here

    • chinedu

      What it has to do with Bill Gates is that after President Jonathan granted the criminal- Alamieyeseigha pardon, Bill Gates must have thought that President Jonathan is not serious about wiping out polio because to grant a criminal and a money launderer pardon means you support wasting money which you ought to have used to fight same polio Gates was coming to work against. It also shows that President Jonathan through such pardon supports the link between money laundering/drug trafficking and terrorism. And no civilised country wants to associate themselves with such country like Nigeria and President like Jonathan who is turning to be the CORRUPTION KING of the world. Hope this helps deri.

      • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

        Chinedu Yusuf Abimbola

        • chinedu

          mpiti_na_Chinedu_na_Lanre_Uwgu_Deri_Jonathan_Diezani_Alison_Patience_London_afam_Yussuff-Abimbola_Dame_
          I will like to go to a London hospital for “health” reason, we hope you caught that.

    • Emeka

      No deri, they are not ACN /CPC agents. Rather they are the agents of the youth wing of PDP- the agents of African Peoples Congress-apc -otherwise known as Annenih Police Cancel(election).

  • concernednigerian

    Bill Gates does not have to come Nigeria. The country depends on petroleum from the Niger Delta and not from Bill Gates philantropic activities. In any case his activities were confined to fighting one form of debilitating desease or another in the far-North. He can send aid to them through Niger or Chad or even help them to establish AREWA Republic. We are not perturbed.

    • sympatheticnigerian

      You speak like a frustrated Nigerian for it seems you want t dodge the issue.

    • Tonn

      Seriously Mr Concerned Nigerian u’r part of the problem dis country is facing. Hypocrite.

  • UsaveOne

    Nice one bill…

  • UsaveOne

    Nice one Bill..

    Check: www . usaveone . blogspot . com

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    PREMIUM TIMES IS DESPERATE TIMES. NO SHAKING FOLKS.

    • TOUN

      Can you ask President Jonathan’s ministers to return their secret American Green Cards please? Can you also ask those of them who secretly train their children in American schools to ask their children to return to Nigerian schools please? This is the time for patriotism-no SHAKING FOLKS, WE MUST NOT BOW BEFORE AMERICA. PLEASE LET OUR MINISTERS RETURN ALL THEIR GREEN CARDS AND AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP. NO SHAKING. MRS JONATHAN MUST NOT GO TO WESTERN COUNTRY FOR MEDICAL REASONS. NO SHAKING. MRS DIEZANI ALISON MADUEKE MUST NOT TRAVEL TO BRITAIN FOR HEALTH REASONS . NO SHAKING. THEY MUST BRING HOME THEIR CHILDREN THEY HIDE TO TRAIN ABROAD WHILE THEY DESTROY OUR SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES, NO SHAKING.THEY MUST NOT USE NIGERIAN MONEY TO TRAVEL IN FIRST CLASS, WHEN WE SEE THEM DO THAT WE WILL EXPOSE THEM, NO SHAKING. BABY MPITIKWELU_NA DERI I AM LOVING THIS , YOU GUYS SIMPLY FORGOT THAT THE WORLD HAS SHRUNK AND THAT THERE IS NO SPACE OR ROOM FOR CRIMINALS TO HIDE EEVEN WHEN SUCH CRIMINALS ARE PARDONED BY THE WORLD CROWNED CORRUPT PRESIDENT, NO SHAKING. REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO GHADAFI? YOU WILL BE FOLLOWED AROUND , THE MONEY YOU LAUNDER THRU FRONTS WILL BE TRACED AROUND THE WORLD USING PEACEFUL ,DEMOCRATIC AND LAWFUL MEANS NO SHAKING. THE MONEY YOU USE TO BUY GUNS HRASSING AND TERORRISING PEOPLE IN THE CREEKS WILL BE EXPOSED, NO SHAKING. REMEMBER THE LINK BETWEEN MONEY LAUNDERING/DRUG TRAFFICKING AND TERORISM. JUST A HINT. NO SHAKING!!!

  • igbiki

    There is more to come, its time the US shows the bofffoons a serious lesson.