Admin l Friday, October 13, 2017
ABUJA, Nigeria – Chairman, Presidential Action Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay has debunked claims made by a journalist, Olukorede Yishau accusing him of being responsible for the extradition and illegal removal from office of the late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Governor of Bayelsa.
Yishau, correspondent with the Nation’s Newspaper, had on Friday April 8, 2016 published an article in a Column of the Newspaper entitled “The man who made Jonathan”, stating that Sagay justified the U.K’s extradition request for Alemieyeseigha and also accused him of professional misconduct
Sagay, who denied the allegations through an article titled, “Olukorede Yishau’s reckless effusions on my relationship with Alemieyeseigha” said that he served the late former Governor as a loyal attorney during his trial and therefore had no hand in his extradition back to England or responsible for his illegal removal from office.
The learned Senior Advocate, while stating that the accusation was a grievous attack on his fundamental attributes and character, said, “I was strongly opposed to the rumoured move by Government to extradite the former Governor. I was certainly not consulted by the Government and could therefore not have advised them on that subject. All these stories were concocted by Yishau in order to make his column interesting.
“I am getting alarmed at the ease with which Journalists make up stories and interviews without any concern about truth, ethics and integrity.
“Yishau’s misleading article is no surprise to me. He is so lazy and incompetent that he cannot even spell my first name that is writ large. He spells it Itsay instead of simple Itse.
“I was indeed one of the Counsels to Alemieyeseigha in the period of 2005 to 2006. My main effort was towards getting him reinstated as Governor of Bayelsa State because of the horrific, illegal and unconstitutional manner in which he was removed from office.
“I was involved in Alamieyeseigha’s matter on two related areas, namely, (i) his illegal and gangster like removal from the office of Governor and (2) whether he was entitled to immunity outside Nigeria as Governor of a State in Nigeria. I was never involved in his trial for economic and financial crimes as alleged by Odumakin. So the question of defending him for corruption does not arise. That was a criminal case handled by other Lawyers, when I do not even remember.
“Given my Firm view that the former Governor was entitled to immunity outside Nigeria and that he was illegally removed from office, I could not, in anyone’s wildest imagination, have supported his being extradited to London for trial. In any case, he had already been tried and sentenced to imprisonment in Nigeria, and was entitled to plead “autrefoi convict” (previously convicted) as provided in Section 36(9) of the Constitution, which prohibits double conviction for the same offence.
“Armed Police were deployed to arrest members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, who were carted to Abuja and tortured into signing an impeachment notice. The whole State was taken over by troops and the Government’s Bank accounts were frozen. They even shut down Radio Bayelsa.
“This was the aspect of the Legal struggle I was involved in. I appeared with Chief Mike Ozekhome at the Supreme Court three times on behalf of the former Governor. The Federal Attorney-General had no answer to our case, and the matter was finally struck-out because the Solicitor General of Bayelsa State filed a notice of discontinuance of the case without our consent.
“The Supreme Court struck out the case for this reason on the ground that if we were not acting on behalf of Bayelsa State, but only on behalf of Alemieyeseigha, we had no right to come to that Court directly. We should commence at the High Court level.
“That effectively scuttled our case because the Bayelsa State Judiciary would have been hostile to our case, given that the then Chief Judge was neck deep in the illegal ouster of the Governor.
“I had great respect for Alemieyeseigha and my view is that he had paid very dearly for whatever offence he had committed and should have been left alone to enjoy the rest of his life in peace. Indeed, if he had lived longer, he would probably have still played an important role in the struggle to resolve the intractable Nigerian National Question.
“Until his sad passing away, I remained loyal as his former Lawyer, to the former Governor. Indeed, a few days to his passing away, I got a text message from him that he was coming to see me in Lagos. Sadly, that was never to be.
“The false and vindictive accusation that I called for his extradition to the U.K. is a wicked and malicious lie, cooked up by some opportunists, who just wanted to tarnish my image,” Sagay said.