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Alamieyeseigha leaves jail, vows to win court case

Posted by By ABDULFATAH OLADEINDE on 2005/10/14 | Views: 440 |

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Alamieyeseigha leaves jail, vows to win court case


Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha breathed the air of freedom yesterday after a two-week detention at the Brixton prison in London.

Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha breathed the air of freedom yesterday after a two-week detention at the Brixton prison in London.


The governor had been ordered remanded in the prison since September 28 by the Bow Street Magistrate Court in the British capital, where he is standing trial on a three-count charge of money laundering.


Alamieyeseigha’s release from the prison at about 3.40p.m yesterday followed the reprieve granted him by an appellate, Crown Court on Southwark Street, where the governor’s counsel had headed to secure his freedom.


The embattled governor who was received by a large crowd of Ijaw people declared that his ordeal was vendetta, not unexpected in politics and that he wanted no sympathy from anyone.


About 120 people, including the President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Professor Kimse Okoko, relations, associates and well wishers were at the governor’s residence to receive him amid the chant of "halleluyah" and praise songs.


Nigerian international businessman and a friend of the governor, Mr Terry Waya who was also part of the reception spoke with Daily Sun on phone from London.
Professor Okoko and the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Works, Matthew Karimo led the party in prayers and praise songs. They prayed for the governor’s well being and that the prison experience would strengthen him.


Alamieyeseigha was in high spirits shaking hands with his guests and hugging them. He had had a surgical operation in Germany and was only in London to recuperate when detectives from Scotland Yard arrested him at the Heathrow Airport on September 15 on grounds of alleged involvement in money laundering.


He told the gathering that he had left everything to God and was not holding his travails against anybody. Alamieyeseigha described his ordeal as a conspiracy but that he had forgiven all involved in it. He said it was a path he had to travel as a politician.


The Bayelsa chief executive also thanked his people for standing by him, for their patience and support.
He expressed the desire to return home soon and in the chat with his friend, Mr Waya, he sad the next stage in the legal defence was to seek the release of his travel documents.
According to Waya, the court did not object to Alamieyeseigha traveling to Nigeria as long as he informed them and the function is official. "The Defence team has prepared to apply to the court so that he can travel," Waya stressed.


Waya also quoted the Bayelsa governor to have expressed the hope that his travel documents would be released soon.
According to him, the governor described his ordeal as "a vendetta case," and that "money laundering means proceeds from a crime and such has not been proven."
He added that it would be an abuse of court process to hold a man when no case has been proven against him.


Alamieyeseigha, he said, was quite hopeful his passports would be released and he would come back to stand trial if necessary, stressing, "he has nothing to hide, no cause to run away."
Asked how the governor’s mood was like, Waya said Alamieyeseigha had no problem and to underscore that, the Bayelsa governor was said to have requested for starch and soup, his favourite meal, for lunch as soon as he arrived home from the prison.


"He is very very lively. He has spoken to some of his colleagues on phone. He is in high spirit and said he knows in politics what he’s passing through is what to expect and that he wanted no sympathy from anyone," Waya said.


The governor was also said to be in touch with his cabinet and the state House of Assembly members.
After Alamieyeseigha’s arrest by detectives on September 15, a search was conducted on his home and £1 million cash was said to have been found. The sums of £429,000 and £470,000 were also fund lodged in separate bank accounts belonging to him, besides assets worth £10 million, all of which have been confiscated by the police.
The discoveries by the police prompted his being charged to court for money laundering to the tune of £1.8 million.


While the trial got underway, the Bow Street Magistrate Court ordered him remanded in prison while the case was adjourned till November 3 to enable the police conclude their investigations in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Oronto Douglas in a press statement issued yesterday said the governor remained a bold, purposeful and visionary leader, committed to the total liberation of his people.


According to the statement, the Bayelsa chief executive is eternally grateful to God for seeing him through this difficult phase of his political career.


"Governor Alamieyeseigha is also grateful to the Ijaw nation, well meaning Bayelsans and true friends and patriots who stood by him in the time of need.
"He urges the Ijaw nation and Bayelsans to remain calm and law abiding as he is certain of his innocence and his eventual triumph through the due processes of the law and the goodwill of well-meaning people both at home and abroad."

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