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Court okays bail, Alamieyeseigha to remain in London

Posted by From Tunde Oyedoyin (London) and Madu Onuorah (Abuja) on 2005/10/11 | Views: 839 |

Court okays bail, Alamieyeseigha to remain in London


BAYELSA State Governor, Chief Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, was yesterday granted bail by the Southwark Crown Court in the United Kingdom. He could not, however, walk out free, as one of the six bail conditions was not met as at close of business.

* Obasanjo shuns parley with Bayelsa delegation



BAYELSA State Governor, Chief Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, was yesterday granted bail by the Southwark Crown Court in the United Kingdom. He could not, however, walk out free, as one of the six bail conditions was not met as at close of business.


The development came on a day a delegation from the governor's state, which visited the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, could not meet with President Olusegun Obasanjo, despite all efforts.


One of the conditions imposed by the judge, Justice Rivlin, was that securities worth 500,000 be lodged with the court. But the governor's supporters were only able to provide half of that amount as at 4.00 p.m., when his defence team and the Crown Prosecutors were busy tidying the loose ends . Realising that they were 250,000 short, the second surety dashed to her bank to obtain a banker's cheque of equivalent value, but only to come back some 30 minutes later empty-handed, the banks having closed for business.


This dashed the hopes of the governor's close aides and associates, who had waited in the vicinity of the court, hoping that their man would walk out free today. The governor was subsequently driven back to prison and his aides started dispersing one after the other. One aide was heard saying: "This is very frustrating for the man."


Alamieyeseigha will now wait till around noon today before he can bid farewell to inmates at the South London prison. The President of the Ijaw National Congress, Professor Kimse Okoko, who is co-ordinating the freedom bid, told The Guardian: "Hopefully, by 10.00 a.m. tomorrow (today), we would have got the draft. And, once the Bow Street Magistrate's Court has confirmed same to Southwark Crown Court, who in turn will then inform Brixton Prison, we'll be waiting there to pick him."


But despite bail, the governor will not be able to leave the United Kingdom and has been ordered to report to a Police Station known to the court, on a daily basis. Among the other four conditions attached to his bail, is that he must not be seen within three miles of any port, sea or air. Besides, the defendant must live and sleep each night at an address known to the Court.


Alamieyeseigha, the court also said, must not leave the jurisdiction or apply for any travel documents, though one of his solicitors, Tayo Arowojolu, has disclosed that his client would be contesting that, once he is out of prison.


His travel documents could be released at any time, as the court itself stated that he is at liberty to apply to vary any of the conditions in relation to residence and travel.


But Alamieyeseigha's deputy, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck, yesterday refuted reports of an alleged clamour in his state for him to replace his governor, owing to the travails.


Goodluck, who led a delegation from the state for an audience with President Obasanjo said that Bayelsa people were not interested in a replacement but freedom for their governor.


The delegation had come for a scheduled meeting with the president. But they left, disappointed after failing to see him.


Presidency sources said that the botched meeting was not unconnected with the circumstances surrounding the trial in London of Alamieyeseigha.


The delegation had already been cleared and was seated at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa when word came that Obasanjo had an urgent assignment to attend to, and so, would not be in a position to grant them audience.


Instead, they were directed to meet with the Deputy Chief of Staff, Ambassador Oluremi Esan. The Deputy Governor later confirmed that his delegation was told to come back, without any specific appointment.


Goodluck said that the rumour of pressure being mounted on him to take-over the reins of office was baseless and should be disregarded.


Querying: "Pressure to replace the governor," he said: "These are based on law, the constitution; everything is set out. So, there is nothing like somebody scrambling to take over something. It does not exist."


He, however, explained that although Alamieyeseigha was still away from the state, governance had not in any way been affected in Bayelsa state, adding that he was playing the role expected of him according to the constitution.


His words: "Government is functioning normally. The constitution makes provisions for a deputy governor or vice president in this kind of situation where the governor or president may not be on ground. Remember somebody said deputy governors are spare tyres, so when the main man is not there, government is functioning. The commissioners are there too. No problems."

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