US criticizes Jonathan's administration on the pardon of Ex-gov Alamieyeseigha
United States, Nigeria's top oil buyer has "criticized Nigeria for issuing a pardon to a former governor convicted of corruption who is a political confidant of the nation's president. In messages Friday on Twitter, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria said it was "deeply disappointed" over the pardon issued this week of former Bayelsa state Gov. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was impeached and later convicted in Nigeria. Investigators said he likely stole millions of dollars while in office," as reported by Associated Press.
The embassy criticism went further and said, "We see this as a setback in the fight against corruption."
According to AFP report, "Ex-Bayelsa state governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was President Goodluck Jonathan's boss when the Nigerian leader served as Bayelsa's deputy governor, and the two are still considered very close. Alamieyeseigha was arrested in 2005 amid various allegations including that he built himself private mansions with state funds.
He pleaded guilty to money laundering in 2007 and was released from custody days later after a court ruled that his time served amounted to sufficient punishment. Alamieyeseigha's presidential pardon carries several benefits, including having a clean criminal record and the ability to run for office again.
Jonathan's spokesman Doyin Okupe called on Nigerians to respect the pardon decision taken "by the topmost echelon of leadership in this country", even if it was unpopular.
"It may not be palatable to everybody. It may not be acceptable to everybody, but that is the leadership of the country and that is what they have done," he said Wednesday in an interview with the private Channels television station.
Seven others were also pardoned.
Before his detention in Nigeria, Alamieyeseigha had been arrested in Britain in 2005 on charges of having laundered more than $3 million (2.3 million euros). After getting bail in a British court, the ex-governor fled, with several foreign media outlets reporting that he evaded authorities by dressing as a woman, a detail that has never been confirmed. He was impeached by Bayelsa's state assembly and arrested in Nigeria shortly after his escape from Britain."