Group files FOI request for minutes of Alamieyeseigha’s pardon

Former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha

The Secretary to Government of the Federation has been asked to release details of the meeting.

A Civil Society Group has filed a Freedom of Information request for recordings of the meeting of the Council of States where former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, and former Bank of the North chief, Shettima Bulama, both convicted for huge fraud, were pardoned.

The presidential amnesty for Messrs Alamieyeseigha and Bulama, alongside five former military officers accused of coup plotting, has set off a whirlwind of fury against the Goodluck Jonathan administration, and has continued to arouse public debates nearly two weeks after.

Many Nigerians have launched stinging attacks on President Jonathan, accusing him of instigating the pardon solely to clear his former political benefactor, Mr. Alamieyeseigha, while using the other names as cover. Mr. Alamieyeseigha was convicted and jailed in 2006 for laundering several billions of naira of Bayelsa state funds.

Amid a turbulent backlash that greeted the decision, some governors and other members of the National Council of States, who attended the meeting, have sought to distance themselves, claiming the subject of pardon was not open for discussion.

SAY NO CAMPAIGN, an anti-graft campaign organization led by Ezenwa Nwagwu and Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said it is requesting the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, to release details of the meeting.

“This request is premised on the need for Nigerians to know how this ridiculous decision was reached especially against the backdrop of denials by some members of the National Council of State that the pardons were not discussed,” the group said. “If this assertion is true, it raises serious question on the legal validity of this decision and effectively annuls these pardons.”

The letter was served on Mr. Anyim’s office on Thursday, March 21. Under the FOI Act, the office is required to act within seven days, failure which the group may decide to seek legal action.

Quite a few federal offices have responded to FOI requests since the law came into force in 2011, by providing required information.

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Anyim’s office, which oversaw a federal government initiative to enlighten and encourage government offices and officials to respect the FOI law, will provide the required minutes.

“We are hoping that the SGF will expeditiously attend to this request in the interest of rule of law and transparency,” SAY NO CAMPAIGN said, pledging a commitment to “see a reversal of the presidential pardon.”

Lawyers have warned that Mr. Alamieyeseigha, under an Appeal Court interpretation of similar pardon, may be entitled to billions of naira in compensation in lieu of several of his property confiscated and sold by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which investigated and prosecuted the former governor.


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  • BlackieUmukoro

    Freedom of speech, gradually turning to a handshake beyond the elbow. Enough of these noise makers

    • femirobinson

      @blackie. So we should all sit down, fold our arms and watch. Coward like you. Comments like these show how bad things are in Nigeria right now. Common citizens who don’t know their rights. And it’s now at a point where corrupt people are worshipped and we don’t know what’s right or wrong anymore. Anyone supporting GEJ on this is of an equally corrupt mind.

    • gbenga adeniyi

      BlackieUmukoro, I thought the defenders of GEJ appealed to law in their defense of the criminal pardon of the thief-Alamieyeseigha. So if an organization decides to follow the law to ask for the proceedings of the pardon, what is wrong with that? It is a democracy. It is NOT a fiefdom. Also, please note that President earns a salary. And that salary comes from tax payers’ money and he must answer to the democratic and lawful calls of those who pay him-Nigerian citizens. Even though he said he does not have any apologies to make, we tax payers concede his right to him to say anything. But tax payers must also pursue their rights under the law. Hope this helps you.

  • Its clear the name Ezenwa Nwagwu , belongs to an ibo man-there is nothing good in Nigeria that the Ibos are ever associated with in Nigeria! Why is it that they are ever prepared like ever ready batteries to be hired for a fee? Why? The same Ibos who went cap in hand begging Alams for lucarative contracts which they often abandone in Bayelsa state after collection mobilization fees? The main hotel project in the state was recently awarded by Dickson to an Ibo man-Yet the same Ibos are the ones who want to destroy the state and her people! These fake NGos who think they can pile up pressure on Jonathan -are just wasting their regional time-Added to the rubbish by the Ibos is the Fulani man who calls himself Musa Rafsanjani-rather than arrange to protest the mass killings of Ibos in the Fulani North by Boko haram –they are here talking about nothing-presidential pardons were designed to un-convict great minds like Alams who were politically jailed by OBJ-Orji Kalu is a free man-so is Yerima-after they were accused by Ribadi of being rogues-not to talk of tinubu whom ribadu the political police man, described as the biggest rogue in 9ja-None is safe in a country where only Ijaw governors are impeached and sent to jail-all because some yearn for power by all means-