US opposes Alamieyeseigha's pardon; ...considers visa restrictions on government officials

Controversy has continued to trail Wednesday’s state pardon granted the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha and eight others with the United States of America yesterday joining the league of those opposed to the Federal Government’s action.

President Goodluck Jonathan who approved Alamieyeseigha’s pardon served as his deputy in office.

The US Embassy in Nigeria made the country’s position on Alamiesiegha’s pardon known on Twitter in Lagos yesterday, describing it as a setback to the fight against graft in the country.

“We see this as a setback in the fight against corruption,” Embassy spokeswoman Deb MacLean said.

Also, (according to PUNCH News); there was indication on Sunday that United States might slam visa restrictions on some Nigerian government officials in protest against the state pardon granted a former Bayelsa State Governor Dieprieye Alamieyeseigha, and an ex-Managing Director of the defunct Bank of the North, Mr. Shettima Bulama.

A diplomatic source, who made this known to The PUNCH in Abuja, said the US was miffed by the Federal Government’s decision to summon its Deputy Head of Mission for flaying the reprieve granted the two men.

He said, “There are a lot of options open to Washington. For one, if this matter is not resolved, they can issue visa restrictions on government officials and then follow it up with other sanctions recognised within international law.”

The source said that Nigeria currently stands at a disadvantage should the visa restrictions be imposed.

He said, “Your country stands at a disadvantage because international opinion weighs heavily against it on this one (state pardon).

“Financial crime, especially money laundering, is closely linked to drug trade and drug trade is linked to terrorism; the whole world is affected by it.

“So, if any government is seen to be condoning financial crimes in any form, it stands the risk of international isolation.”

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