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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 09:35 GMT
Nigeria governor to be impeached
Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
Mr Alamieyeseigha earns less than $1,000 a month as a governor
A Nigerian state governor who was charged with money laundering in the UK has been handed an impeachment notice in his oil-rich home state of Bayelsa.

Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha broke his bail conditions and evaded capture in Europe by dressing up as a woman.

Hundreds of youths demonstrated in southern Nigeria on Tuesday, demanding his arrest and deportation to the UK.

He has always said he is innocent of charges that he laundered 1.8m ($3.2m) found in cash and bank accounts.

The speaker of the state parliament, Peremobowei Ebebi, said the assembly had served impeachment notice on the governor.

"He has to resign within two weeks or face impeachment," the speaker said in remarks broadcast on television.

"A governor who disguised himself as a woman to run away from justice in London should not be our governor. It is slap on our collective dignity as a people and our sensibilities as a people."

Governors only have immunity from prosecution while in office.

Mr Alamieyeseigha was originally arrested in September at Heathrow airport and some 1m-worth of cash was found in his London home.

He was granted bail on condition that he remained in the UK.

But earlier this week, officials reported that Mr Alamieyeseigha had returned to Bayelsa.

Disguise

The head of Nigeria's anti-corruption body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), told the BBC's Hausa service that Mr Alamieyeseigha had "forged documents" and "dressed as a woman" to escape the UK.

Last year, another Nigerian state governor returned home after being arrested in London.

Joshua Dariye from Plateau state was quizzed by police on money laundering allegations involving more than 1m.

Nigeria is considered one of the world's most corrupt countries but President Olusegun Obasanjo has vowed to fight the problem.

He set up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after his election in 1999.

Several senior officials have been put under investigation for alleged corruption in recent months and the first significant conviction during his six years in power was made this week - when former police chief Tafa Balogun was sentenced to six months in prison for corruption.

Mr Obasanjo's critics say the anti-corruption drive is being used to target his political opponents.


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