A Series Of Unfortunate Nigerian Events: Diepreye Alamieyeseigha’s Story.

April 17, 2019
(AP Photo/George Osodi, File)

Now, this is a story all about how, Alamieyeseigha’s life got twisted and turned upside down, and I’d like you to take a moment and just sit right back, I’ll tell you how he became the cross-dressing king of Yenagoa.

Between 1999 and 2005, Diepreye Solomon Peters Alamieyeseigha served as the first  democratically elected Governor of Bayelsa State with an almost singular motivation — the thorough re-purposing of the Bayelsa state treasury into a personal checking account.

His flagrancy in looting the state blind garnered international infamy and a momentous, yet embarrassing brush with drag. The extremely unfortunate and frankly mortifying incident of Alamieyeseigha, a sitting Nigerian governor, donning the garb of a woman to avoid arrest for money laundering in 2005 is one for the books, and in our books, we’ll be examining the whole mess in four fairly parts.

Almaieyeseigha’s Tenure As Governor

The first 100 days in office are a pivotal time in a Governor’s administration. It is a period much talked about during campaigns and one filled with actions that set the pace for the entirety of their tenure in office.

For Alamieyeseigha, this first 100 days were no different. Belying increased welfare or whatever campaigning spiel was adopted in 1999, he began earnest  work on the real focus of his administration — himself. By September 21, 1999,  barely three months into his tenure, Alamieyeseigha had incorporated the eponymous Solomon & Peters Company in the British Virgin Islands — a perfectly normal sounding organisation, whose sole mission was to serve as a conduit between the state treasury and the realisation of Alamieyeseigha’s most luxurious dreams.

As though purchased with monopoly money, the Governor began the acquisition of properties as fast as state allocations and oil ministry revenue would allow.

His Loot And The First Signs of Trouble.

At the count of six years from  the start of his tenure, Alamieyeseigha’s possessions portfolio included a  house on Water Gardens in London purchased for £1.75 million in 2003; a house at Mapesbury Road, London purchased for £1.4 million in 2001; a flat in Jubilee Heights, Shoot Uphill, London, purchased for £241,000 in October 1999 weeks after Solomon & Peters was incorporated; and a property on Regent’s Park Road, London, purchased in July 2002 for the sum of £3 million.

He also had a smattering of properties in the United States, as seen in his  504 Pleasant Drive, King Farm Estate in Maryland, USA with another on Aurora Crest Drive Whither, California. Also a property in South Africa worth an estimated $1 million as at 2005, as well as a refinery in Ecuador.

His  account balances also racked up millions, with £1.9 million in a Royal Bank of Scotland account, under the name of another sham registered company – Santolina, of which he served as sole director and signatory. Another sum of $1.6 million in the Bank of America as at 2003.

By 2005, Alams, the man with immense power and now increased wealth, realised — what better way to complete the trifecta than an improvement on his  looks. Picking a centre in Germany, he underwent a tummy tuck procedure to counter the gut that threatened to stain and strain his white.

While he was having his bout with Narcissus, and the world had its sights set on Livingstone Church and the Indonesian earthquake — the British government was side-eying the Nigerian Governor, who seemed to have chosen British shores and not the state of Bayelsa, to spend the state’s federal allocations and stash his ill-gotten and bountiful wealth.

Following a raid on one of his properties in the United Kingdom, the British authorities discovered the sum of  $1.2 million in cash, which was promptly impounded, also seizing $2.7 million in a bank account at the Royal Bank of Scotland and $15 million in London real estate.

As the icing on the cake, the British authorities didn’t allow Alamieyeseigha the immediate pleasure of flouting his beach bod for all to see, as he was arrested in September 2005, at Heathrow Airport while returning from surgery in Germany, on allegations of money laundering and fraud.

The Great Escape

Preparatory to a trial to answer to the money laundering allegations; the Brtish government forgot they were dealing with a real South-South boy, and granted him bail with certain restrictions, which included the seizure of his passport. It was during this period that a plan was hatched by the Governor to explore his feminine side and capitalise on it to escape the British authorities.

Sometime in December 2005, Alamieyeseigha — using the cover of his new look brought on by weight loss, snuck out of the UK,  maybe decked in a gele, probably with a little highlight and contour on and perhaps with a blonde bob wig on; we’ll never really know, and never stop speculating about. He forfeited a £1.25 million bail bond by doing so.

While no one will say for sure how Alamieyeseigha was able to escape the eagle eye of the UK for Nigeria, word on the street has it that he may have taken a Eurostar train from London to Paris and then flown to Douala, a port city in Cameroon neighbouring Nigeria, where a speedboat took him home, possibly wearing heels.

Alamieyeseigha’s Life Post-Drag.

Following a heroic welcome to his home state, where thousands lined the street to usher him home; the Bayelsa State House of Assembly thankfully saw the wrong in allowing his continued service as Governor, impeaching him on December 2005.

Having been stripped of his immunity through impeachment, he was promptly arrested by the EFCC on December 9th, 2005, on charges of money laundering.

Two years after his arrest, he pleaded guilty before a High Court of Nigeria, to six charges of money laundering; for which he was sentenced to two years in prison each, on July 37, 2007.

However, as the sentences were to run concurrently, and time was counted from the point of his arrest in 2005, mere hours after being taken to prison, Alamieyeseigha was released due to time already served.

And if that wasn’t lucky enough, his former Deputy, the then President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan granted him a most undeserving state pardon in 2013, which was supposedly granted to promote peace in the Niger Delta. Right.

However, Nigerians may forgive and allow a governor convicted for money laundering, donate 3 million to the Akassa Foundation, but the British surely do not forget.

Which is why around  October 5th 2015, the British Government requested that Alams  be extradited to answer to the money laundering case, for which he jumped bail back in 2005, a whole ten years prior.

But would you know it, just a few days after reports of the United Kingdom requesting his extradition made rounds, Alamieyeseigha passed on to the great beyond, owed to complications from high blood pressure and diabetes.

Now a lot of aspersions were cast on the truthfulness of his death, but would anyone be so desperate for freedom, they’d we willing to try anything? Especially an action so dramatic? We’ll let you think on it.

Boyin Plumptre

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