U.S threatens sanctions against Nigeria over pardon for ex-convict Alamieyeseigha, Bulama

The controversial pardon granted some ex-convicts by President Goodluck Jonathan has sparked a diplomatic standoff between Nigeria and the United States,  with the Americans threatening to punish Nigeria over Mr. Jonathan’s action.

Nigeria has in turn accused the United States of “meddlesomeness”.

The U.S. had through its official twitter handle @USEmbassyAbuja on Friday condemned Mr. Jonathan’s action, saying, “the #USG (United States Government) is deeply disappointed over the recent pardons of corrupt officials by GON (Government of Nigeria).”

 It added, “We see this as a setback in the fight against corruption.”

A State Department official has now said the American government is not taking the matter lightly and might apply sanction as appropriate.

Speaking at the U.S. Department of State’s daily press briefing in Washington D.C. late Friday, Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the development in Nigeria might jeorpardize the governance projects America is executing in Nigeria.

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.

In response to a question on whether aid to Nigeria might be cut, Ms Nuland said, “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.”

She added, “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.

“We haven’t yet taken the kinds of steps that you’re suggesting Matt (the reporter who asked the question), but we’re continuing to look at what’s appropriate.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s foreign ministry has summoned a top U.S. diplomat to explain why its embassy posted critical comments on Twitter over a presidential pardon given to the Nigerians convicted on corruption charges.

The Nigerian officials filed an urgent request to speak to the U.S. deputy chief of mission over what it described as “meddlesomeness.”

In a statement Friday, the ministry claimed the pardon granted Messrs Alamieyeseigha and Bulama is entirely consistent with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.

The ministry said it hoped “that the Embassy of the United States of America would henceforth desist from making unwarranted comments on Nigeria’s internal affairs which are capable of undermining the friendly relations that exist between them.”

President Jonathan and the National Council of State had granted ex- Bayelsa Governor, Mr. Alamieyeseigha and ex-boss of the defunct Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama pardon in a move condemned by civil society and other interest groups.

Both men had been convicted for corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Mr. Alamieyeseigha, who chose Mr. Jonathan as his running mate for the Bayelsa Governorship election in 1999, pleaded guilty to financial misappropriation and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Some members of the Council of States had told PREMIUM TIMES that it was clear from the president’s mien and actions at the meeting that the pardon was targeted at Mr. Alamieyeseigha with the others only used as smokescreen.

The ex-Bayelsa Governor’s name was the first on the list of the pardon beneficiaries read by the president to attendees at the meeting including three former Nigerian heads of state.

Mixed reactions

Nigerians have, however, reacted differently to the U.S. reaction. While some say the U.S. has by its actions showed that it would not support the seemingly pro-corruption action of the government, others accused the American government of meddling in Nigerian affairs especially when its former presidents also pardoned similar ex-convicts.

“Who condemned USA when they pardoned Oliver North and the then president over Iran contra,” a commentator by the name Ben Growp posted on PREMIUM TIMES website.

“Various American presidents have pardoned individuals, the most controversial being Marc Rich, whose wife Denise is a contributor to the Democratic Party. Clinton’s actions were done a few hours to leaving office in January of 2001,” another commentator by the username Lanre posted.

Others like Odusanya Seye commended the U.S. statement.

“As a patriotic citizen of Nigeria, I find this retarded move to pardon a convict shameful for a country whose inhabitant cry for justice,” he said.


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  • Lanre Ake

    For governments (at federal and state level) that spend resources globe trotting in the name of looking for foreign investors, what a sign/message we are sending across. The same way you lay your bed is how lay on it. These foregn governments and private investors monitor our activities and the shenanigan happening here, they can’t be deceived.

    My challenge to Alam and GEJ govt: after this pardon will you be visiting the UK or other European countries with extradition treaty with the UK? You dere not, you just remember the case of one Mr James the son of Ibori! A simply test of the Alam’s pardon- venture into the UK afterward ‘and see how far’!

  • Bassey Eniang

    I use this medium to alert the Government that Nigerian families are being destroyed in their own country by the criminal and fraudulent actions of foreigners and their local sponsors. I call on the FGN to ensure that the Government agencies concerned take appropriate action to enable us get justice and indicted persons (including foreigners) are prosecuted and jailed for crime committed.

    I also want to alert Nigerians that some foreigners come into Nigeria with a set of names but take up residence and employment with different names, making tracking and positive identification impossible. This is a serious threat to our national security. This ugly development if left unchecked can undermine our effort to combat bombing and terrorist attacks.

    In my own experience, arrest warrants could not be served on Alok Gupta, Raj Gupta Indian owners of Ispat Steel Nig Ltd, wanted for conspiracy, fraud, forgery, criminal conversion of property and impersonation, because of inability of the Police to properly identify them at their office. Earlier invitation for Police interview made at their Ikoyi Crescent office/residence was unsuccessful because the Police were told there was nobody bearing Alok Gupta, Raj Gupta there. The securityman further informed the Police that the 2000 Indian nationals living in the estate do not use their real names!

    These people twice refused to attend State CID invitations which prompted arrest warrants to be issued to bring them in for questioning. The arrest warrants could not be executed because they could not be possitively identified as those seen denied being the persons wanted! Two different persons claimed to be “PK Srivastava”! One person denied being Alok Gupta” and claimed to be “PK Srivastava”, but could not present, his passport, driver’s license or any other photo ID for positive identification. This was delibrate to frustrate Police execution of the arrest warrants to stal Police investigation and report. The man in question told the officers that he was with a retired IGP the previous day and that he knows the EFCC Chairman!

    The National Security Adviser, State Security Services and Immigration should as a matter of urgency investigate this as it is important that the Government be in a position to track and monitor the movement and activities of all foreigners that enter our country.

  • According to Diya, “if it was done in 1999, I have not been paid what I am supposed to be paid: pension, gratuity, et cetera. So, I only believe that since there was nothing mentioned about it, the gratuity and pension, it has not been done.” The Ogun state-born former CGS said if it was done in 1999, then there should have been a formal letter written to him. He said “because if it was done in 1999, there should have been a formal letter written to me. But no letter, no payment, no gratuity. But like this one that has been announced now, I know there will be a letter from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, formally informing me about this decision and all that go with it, be done,” Diya added. Revealing his mood about the state pardon, Diya said “I feel good, I feel very, very happy,”

    reply

  • I stand to be challenged that Ribadu was an agent of the CIA-OBJ worked for the CIA–IBB also served the CIA–look at the text message–the USA is angry that corrupt officials were pardoned–who are the corrupt officials-?-Diya, Yara Adua-and co? Freedom for the Niger Delta now or Never! No shaking for Jonathan–let the USA name the 33 thieves ribadu told the senate about–is the USA not aware of the thieves–no wonder some claim the USA is behind boko haram-want to turn 9jam into anoda syria for buhari and tinubu–continue with the media war–u recycle stories and call it a message from the USA–were u people not the same confused souls that insulted jonathan for meeting with obama?

    • damilare

      mpitikwelu_na_Deri_Ugwu_Orbuka_Awusa_afam,
      I have the following questions for you:(i) Based on this and because our ruling elites must love our independence so much, when next will Mrs Jonathan, the wife of our dear President visit another western country for health reasons? Or will she not go again? (ii) when next will Mrs Diezani Alsion-Madueke visit London for “health” reason? (iii) When will the children of members of our ruling elites studying in American schools, and children of our ministers under the regime of President Jonathan PROUDLY AND PATRIOTICALLY RETURN TO NIGERIAN SCHOOLS AND DAMN THE “stupid” Americans? Please answer for we must exercise our independence. And this MUST start with members of elites NOW, NOW!, it must start WITH OUR MINISTERS NOW NOW NOW NOW. let our minsters throw their American GREEN CARDS and PASSPORTS at the faces of the Americans!!! “stupid” Americans- we love our “independence”

    • Kayode Adesola

      I agree with you deri. But Let us go more steps. Let the ministers in President Jonathan’s govt recall all their children studying in American schools immediately to Nigerian schools. Let all the ministers who secretly hold American Green cards and American citizenship throw them back at the Americans. Let Mrs Jonathan, the wife of our President make a PLEDGE NEVER to go to a western hospital again. Let Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke promise Nigerians NEVER to visit a western hospital for “health” care. Let the children of ministers in American schools PLEASE RETURN HOME IN PROTEST AND IN EXERCISE OF OUR BELOVED INDEPENDENCE AND FREEDOM. Please deri tell President Jonathan, Madam Diezani Alison-Madueke and Mrs Jonathan all these-Let us start exercising our FREEDOM!!!

  • igbiki

    They’d put then back in some shit lists and they’d be begging like some sissies to be put out the list.

    • Akindahunsi

      Me too want these ministers to return the American Green Cards and American citizenship they hold secretly. me too I want them to repatriate their children from American schools back to Nigerian universities and schools. Me think it is hypocritical for President Jonathan and his ministers to criticize America through their spokespersons such as deri, afam, mpitikwelu, while they secretly hold American Green cards and Citizenship, while their children are studying in American schools and other western schools. An African proverb says” Do not bring close to your nose what you will not eat.” So Madam Diezani Alison Madueke stop going to London for “medical” reasons, Mrs Jonathan , do not go to Germany for health reasons, stop using Nigerian money to fly your children in first class, all of you o ya now, please return your children from American schools. Nigerian schools are good too. let us show the Americans that we are a proud and independent nation. Abi? Let your children come here and go to school in Naija to show the Americans our independence.

  • PRESIDENT CLINTON PARDONED HIS HALF BROTHER over a DRUG related offencewho said foul

    • Kayode Adesola

      Therefore our ministers who hold American Green cards and citizenship should please return these cards and citizenship to the American govt. They should have nothing to do with President Clinto’s govt-abi? The ministers should ask their children to return immediately from American schools -abi deri mpitikwelu-o ya now .

  • Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) believed the pardon was in order, considering that Alamieyeseigha had been tried and convicted, with his property seized, whereas there are thousands of corruption cases in court that are not being followed up.

    He commended Jonathan for granting the ex-governor pardon, adding: “There is one particular case of a man that got perpetual injunction at the High Court level to stop his probe and trial and nothing has happened about it till today. What type of corruption are we still fighting?

    “There is nothing relevant between Alamieyesiegha and corruption anymore. The government should stop running after its wrong enemies. There are those corrupt government officials that are walking freely. These are the people that the government should go after. Alamieyesiegha deserved to be pardoned.”

    Prof Steve Azaike said much as it is true that Alamieyeseigha made some mistakes, but he was a victim of political manipulation, because of his strong position on resource control, fair distribution of our oil wealth, with special consideration to those who produce the oil.

    • segun

      I can see that you are running helter skelter to pick your sources using ETHNIC criterion. That is part of the unfortunate thing President Jonathan introduced. And that is fine. We understand Prof Itse Sagay’s and Prof Steve Azaike’s position. Years ago we read Prof Sagay . He would critique Abacha, Babangida, Obasanjo etc. He was hailed. Today Prof Sagay’s voice IS MUFFLED!!! Prof Sagya’ voice is COMPLETELY IMPRISONED -perhaps by ETHNIC LOYALTY. Look my broda I know Sagay in and out-so make you forget dat one. And this is not the first time. I know Prof Sagay in and out. Unfortunately for him and a few others he is one of those who tragically believe that President Jonathan is being criticized because he is Ijaw and from South South. !!! So it was easy for Prof Sagay to criticize Obasanjo, Abacha, Buhari and Babangida, and since President Jonathan came in Prof Sagay had taken permanent sleeping tablets-He had gone to bed!!!!! Caaaarryyy Go my broda mpitikwelu_deri_afam_AyoYussuff_KenMani-Four More Years!!!

    • otitokoro

      Deri Orbuka, Like some one said your problem and perhaps problem of President Jonathan’s defenders is that they will ethnicise everything. And this is part of the disappointment everyone has with Mr. Jonathan. We wrongly thought because he has at least a Phd, that he would do things differently. Alas, he is even worse than those head of state without Phd. And here comes you, using Prof Sagay. Many of us are long veterans of public service in Nigeria. We worked side by side people like Gani Fawehinmi, Papa Rewane, Bala Usman, Soyinka, Mahmood Tukur, just to name a few Nigerian citizens who were/are public intellectuals working on the streets on behalf of Nigerian peoples. Those days Prof Sagay would also join. he was trusted not because of anyone’s ethnicity but because of the social questions of justice and corruption free society we were all committed to. he would join us as we took on Abacha, Babangida, Obasanjo etc. No one knew Prof Sagay joined us in the public defending the working peoples because Prof Sagay did that because Abacha/Babangida/Obasanjo were not from South South. Why? because since we saw the high profile LOOTING and CORRUPTION under President Jonathan and some of us spoke up and have been consistent, Prof Sagay went figuratively dead. We no longer hear his “social” voice. It was so bad Dr. Tilde (who himself is another chauvinist I guess like Sagay now with the benefit of hindsight) had to come out and pointedly ask Prof Sagay to state his position on some burning issues. So you present a bad case when you went after Sagay as a source. Sagay IS NO MORE the progressive lawyer we used to know. And my reason is PUBLIC and VERIFIABLE. And this is it: if Sagay was with us fighting corruption in Abacha/Babangida/Obasanjo and he suddenly developed COLD FEET in the fight against same CORRUPTION under President Jonathan then PROF. SAGAY IS DOING WHAT HE IS DOING NOW BECAUSE HE THINKS HE HAS TO DEFEND A FELLOW SOUTH-SOUTH. It is sad but it is fine, history has recorded everyone’s contribution. Had Sagay been consistent since President Jonathan’s rule then using him-Sagay to support this criminal and immoral pardon of a criminal Like Alamieyeseigha by President Jonathan will be credible. But wait a minute-Prof Sagay is in bed with the President Jonathan’s rule. We all know that. Therefore Prof Sagay LOOKS THE OTHER WAY WHEN PRESIDENT JONATHAN AND HIS PEOPLE ARE LOOTING THE TREASURY PERHAPS BECAUSE IT IS “OUR OIL MONEY” BUT PROF SAGAY WAS ON THE STREET CONDEMNING ABACHA/BABANGIDA/OBASANJO. See now how bad your justification is? If your justification(Prof sagay) is defective then your conclusion would be defective. In this case your justification (Sagay) is defective, then your attempt to put cream on President Jonathan’s immoral decision is inherently flawed and morally irredeemable. Deri, As a veteran of Nigerian social struggle I have a profound knowledge of Prof Sagay. Your argument is NOT helped by using him. But unfortunately you are using him now purely due to ETHNIC SOLIDARITY. That is the thing President Jonathan introduced. Nigeria has never had it this bad in terms of ethnic integration. That a fellow like Prof Sagay is caught in this is a shame. Moral consistency is a requirement of public intellectual work. Prof Sagay burned this long time ago since the inception of President Jonathan’s rule. You do not help your argument by using him.

      • just give us the names of those who were jailed alongside Alams in Nigeria–dont u have records of the governors who were sent to kirikiri prison-is that too much to ask–publish the names–of the 33 governors who were prosecuted by ribadu period-and stop the noise u often make to satisfy buhari-who freed alhaji alhaji ex governor of CBN–jailed Fela–refused to free Pa Ajasin of Ondo state-jailed Ambrose ali until he became blind is that tribalism? Is it a lie that alams is the only Ijaw governor to be jailed by OBJ-ati ribadu?

        • otitokoro

          deri Orbuka alias mpitikwelu alias afam alias Sagay alias Yussuff, I am telling you that your so-called source Sagay is morally defective. Therefore your conclusion is defective. If someone was a “progressive” in the past criticizing people who were not from South South, and everybody thought he was being honest, and President Jonathan is DOING EXACTLY THE SAME THING SAGAY WAS KNOWN TO CRITICIZE IN THE PAST AND SUDDENLY SAGAY “LOST” HIS VOICE WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY? That is the question boy deri. It means Sagay is supporting President Jonathan’s corruption purely on ethnic grounds. You mentioned Sagay , I debunked it. You need to respond. Okay. But let me tell you some of us know Sagay very very very well one on one as colleagues. Hence, we are not surprised that he “lost” his voice. So you may want to keep quiet if you do not have anything to say.

  • Abip

    When Africa had great leaders like Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah,Patrice Lumumba and others,America and European allies eliminated them.When Nigeria gave birth to the present democratic dispensation,again the enemies of the continent ensured a puppet emerges as the President.

    Why must Nigeria with all the natural resources at her disposal,be asking for AID.

    When some school of thought suggested the introduction of capital punishment in Nigeria as a way forward to curb corruption,America, among others opposed it.America has Saudi Arabia,Kuwait and even United Arab Emirate as trading partners.These countries are progressive because of the incorporation of capital punishment in their legal system.

    The developed countries of the world have also used technology as a means to keep an eye on corruption.

    The trouble with the Nigerian people is that they all want to go to heaven but no one wants to die.The rogue leadership is only capitalizing on the lapses of the people.

    • adetola

      Nigeria will ask for AID because the children of our ministers school in America, because many of those ministers you see there under President Jonathan secretly hold Green Cards and American citizenship. So when they finish the LOOTING they leave. if you want to solve the problem, DO NOT SODOON look. First ask the ministers to bring home their children from America and come and school in Nigeria. Ask them not to go abroad for medical treatment. Then use your VOTE wisely in 2015-That is abip.

    • sm

      I am astound that there are Nigerians as you, who are able to look beneath the surface of Americanism; although I do believe these guys should have wrought in jail. Nonetheless, if the Nigerian govt wants to grant pardon to a kleptocrat, no foreign govt( and most importantly not America or any of the colonizers) should superimpose their authority over our sovereignty.

      • sanusi

        sm, Yeap “no foreign govt (and most importantly not America or any of the colonizers) should super impose their authority over our sovereignty” yes and it should follow that IN ORDER TO EXERCISE THAT SOVEREIGNTY NO NIGERIAN MINISTER OR SENATOR OF HOUSE OF REP MEMBER MUST HOLD AN AMERICAN GREEN CARD SECRETLY OR SECRETLY HOLD AN AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP, (PRESENTLY MANY OF THEM DO SECRETLY AND WE KNOW THEM)NO CHILD OF PRESIDENT, MINISTER, SENATOR, HOUSE OF REP MEMBER MUST BE ALLOWED TO STAY ONE SECOND IN AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES AND SCHOOLS. TO DULY EXERCISE OUR SOVEREIGNTY ALL THESE CHILDREN MUST RETURN HOME TO NIGERIAN SCHOOLS, MRS JONATHAN MUST NOT GO ABROAD FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OUR SOVERIENGTY AND RESPECT REQUIRE THAT THE WIFE OF PRESIDENT LEADS BY EXAMPLE BY PATRONIZING NIGERIAN HOSPITALS. LET HER STAY AT HOME IN NIGERIA TO TREAT HERSELF, SO ALSO MADAM PETROLEUM MADAM DIEZANI ALISON-MADUEKE MUST NOT GO TO LONDON FOR PRESUMABLY HEALTH REASON, LET HER STAY AT HOME ANT GO TO NIGERIAN HOSPITAL FOR HER HEALTH. LET ALL OF THEM BRING THOSE CHILDREN OF THEIRS BACK TO NIGERIAN. sm/abip This means that you cannot eat your cake and have it, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Do you understand? Does this help?

  • I stand by the US government for that stance on the issue.

    • Busola Akintoye

      My family and I as Nigerian citizens commend the US MISSION in Nigeria for having the moral courage to speak after Nigerians have spoken on this matter and for standing behind the moral voices of Nigerian citizens. I support what the US MISSION in Nigeria said because it has put moral international weight behind what my family and I have said and stood for on this matter.

  • Bassey Eniang

    In his report, Dr Mario Costa, former Director, UN Office on Drugs, Nacortics and Money Laundering stated that between 1960 and 1999, Nigerian leaders had “stolen and stashed $400 Billion in foreign banks”.The Punch Editorial Board in its March 15, 2013 publication stated that Global Financial Integrity disclosed that between 1999 and 2009, another sum of $182Billion was laundered (stolen) from Nigeria! Transparency International (TI) in its corruption perception index ranked Nigeria 135th out of 176 countries polled.

    The above are frightening evidence of funds that could have been used to develop our economy as our peers have done in China, S. Korea, Brazil, India and S. Africa to mention a few. It is also evidence that the “culture of corruption” has been taken to “horrific levels”! The development must be reversed immediately if Nigeria is to attain the objective of being counted amongst the world’s 20 best economies by 2020.

    Our economy which has been dependent on the sale of crude oil to the USA has experienced sharp drop in export between 2011 and 2012. The trend is likely to continue and projection is that the US in a few years is likely to become a net exporter of crude oil, no thanks to their vast reserve of shale oil and rapid development of crude oil and gas reserves. Common sense dictates that we should be strategic in our disposition, strengthening our bilateral relations to enable us benefit from their cooperation to rapidly develop our economy, rather than losing the benefits of diplomatic, socio-cultural and economic ties as they have threatened.

    This bruhaha should not lead to Nigeria lose US investments, as according to this report, “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”. For how much was the subject of this report convicted, that the entire nation of 160 million should forfeit $826 million American investment?! Smart thinking and common sense is required, please!

  • Adebowale

    Please share information about african industries and how to relate raj gupta and alok gupta