[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 10:46 GMT
Governor escape 'shames' Nigeria
Nigerian troops in Yenagoa
Extra troops have been sent to Mr Alamieyeseigha's home state
President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the governor who jumped bail on money-laundering charges in the UK and escaped home is "shameful" to Nigeria.

Mr Obasanjo was commenting for the first time in public on the case of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, although he has asked the UK for an explanation.

Mr Alamieyeseigha was expelled from the ruling PDP party on Thursday.

He also faces corruption charges in a special court, which can strip elected officials of their immunity.

Neither he nor his legal representatives, however, appeared in the Kaduna Code of Conduct Tribunal on charges of illicit enrichment and failure to declare properties and bank accounts.

Many Nigerians were doing wrong without a sense of wrong-doing
President Olusegun Obasanjo

The judge ordered newspapers to publish a summons for him to appear at court and adjourned the case for a week.

Mr Alamieyeseigha has told the BBC that the 1.8m ($3.2m) found in his properties in London does not belong to him.

He said the charges against him were politically motivated.

Change attitudes

Mr Obasanjo also criticised those who marched through the streets of the Bayelsa state capital, Yenagoa, celebrating the governor's escape.

He said it was unfortunate that people were taking public pride in wrong-doing and said these attitudes must change if Nigeria was to move forward.

"Many Nigerians were doing wrong without a sense of wrong-doing."

"It is shameful to all of us that a governor jumped bail and some people are hailing him," he said.

Correspondents say the governor is under siege, facing impeachment in his oil-rich home state of Bayelsa, while extra troops have been sent there.

They have closed down the state radio station, which some see as being close to the governor.

He has moved out of his official residence in the state capital, Yenagoa, and has surrounded himself with his own team of armed bodyguards.

However, he was at work on Thursday inspecting projects in Yenagoa, reports Nigeria's Guardian newspaper.

Women's clothing

Nigerian officials said the governor had left Britain disguised in women's clothing, although he has denied this.

Mr Alamieyeseigha said he was prepared to return to Britain, where police say they want him back to face the charges.

Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
Mr Alamieyeseigha says his prosecution is political

He was granted bail on condition that he remained in the UK, surrendered his passport and reported regularly to the police.

If the judges find that he has skipped bail, securities worth some 1.25m ($2.14m) will be forfeited.

Mr Obasanjo set up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in order to fight fraud in a country ranked as one of the most corrupt in the world.

But his critics say the anti-corruption drive is bring used to eliminate political rivals.

Mr Alamieyeseigha is seen as being close to Vice-President Atiku Abubakar - who is vying with Mr Obasanjo for control of the ruling People's Democratic Party.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific