The senior special assistant to the president on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, has said that the federal government was not disposed to handing over former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha to the United Kingdom for trial. Okupe spoke in an exclusive interview with Premium Times published yesterday.
The presidential aide also described the spokesperson of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as a ‘liar’ with no vision and very little understanding of what the role of the opposition is supposed to be in a democracy.
Okupe, who denied knowledge of any written request to the federal government asking for Alamieyeseigha to be extradited to Britain for trial for which the federal government has allegedly refused, said “even if the federal government refuses, I don’t see any big issue in that.
This happens all over the world; why should Nigeria release a Nigerian citizen, who committed an offence in Nigeria for which he has been punished, to Britain? What is the interest of Britain? The offence was not committed in the U.K.; it was committed against the people of this country for which our laws have punished the man and he has served his term.
“Countries such as Britain go out of their way to ensure that their citizens who commit crimes in other lands are not punished. They will use every diplomatic effort to make sure that they are brought to Britain to serve their punishment. Why should we now submit our own person, it does not make sense to me. But I am not aware if they made any demand to anybody, but if they have done so and Nigeria refuses, I don’t see any problem with that,” Okupe declared.
Okupe was reported to have earlier said that some of the factors President Goodluck Jonathan considered in granting the controversial pardon to his ex-boss and kinsman, is the role he (Alamieyeseigha) is playing to stabilise the country’s economy especially with regards to curbing oil theft in the Niger Delta region, a situation, Okupe said, could have been worse but for the intervention of various people including Alamieyeseigha.
--------Bode Gbadebo, Leadership Nigeria, April 10, 2013