Former President Goodluck has disclosed in his new book that it was Niger Delta militants that demanded the release and pardoning of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of Bayelsa state in 2007 as a precondition for peace in the Niger Delta.
In his new book, currently being launched in Abuja, Jonathan disclosed that when he and late President Musa Yar Adua were sworn in on May 29, 2007, they were confronted with two main challenges. One was the rising activities of Boko Haram and the second was militancy in the Niger Delta, which was leading to a sharp fall in revenues to the federation account.
“The Federation distributable accrual was dwindling drastically when we took over due to the crisis in the region and President Yar’Adua, in seeking urgent solutions to increase the revenues of the Federation, offered amnesty to the militants.”
“ One of their demands was that Alamieseigha be released from detention and pardoned by President Yar’Adua. He accepted their terms and mandated me to ensure that my former boss accepted a plea bargain and call the militants to order. President Yar’Adua promised to grant Alamieseigha state pardon if all parties were brought on board to the negotiation table to restore peace in the region”
“I immediately carried out his instructions. Unfortunately, he passed on before completely fulfilling his promise. When I became President, I granted late Alamieseigha a state pardon, in fulfilment of late President Yar’Adua’s earlier commitment. Unfortunately this was frowned upon by some of my strongest critics.”
Jonathan served as deputy governor to Alamieseigha. Jonathan became governor after Alamiseigha was impeached in December 2005 over allegations of corruption in 2005. He had been arrested in UK in November of 2005 over money laundering charges but managed to jump bail and travel to Nigeria. In July 2007, after two years in detention, Alamieseigha pleaded guilty to charges of corruption and money laundering brought against him by the EFCC and sentenced to two years in prison. Alamieseigha died in October 2015 at the age of 62.
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