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Saturday, September 17, 2005

BBC NEWS | Africa | Nigerian governor arrested in UK

BBC NEWS | Africa | Nigerian governor arrested in UK Nigerian governor arrested in UK
The governor of Nigeria's oil-rich Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, has been arrested in the UK, the British Embassy in Lagos has confirmed.

London police say a 53-year-old man was picked by their special Economic Crimes Unit at Heathrow Airport on Thursday.

He was later released on bail for a period of two months.

Nigeria's anti-corruption body say Mr Alamieyeseigha was detained in connection with an investigation into allegations of money laundering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) say they were informed of the governor's detention by London's Metropolitan Police.

"The arrest was in connection with an investigation of allegations of money laundering being carried out by the Metropolitan Police," EFCC spokesman Osita Nwajah said in a statement.

Immunity

The BBC's Sola Odunfa says the EFCC has been investigating the governor for more than three years.

Under Nigerian law he enjoys immunity from prosecution while in office.

However, such immunity does not extend beyond Nigeria's shores, our correspondent says.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the man they detained was taken to a London police station.

"He was released on bail to return on 15 November pending further enquiries," he said.

Last year, another Nigerian state governor was arrested in London.

Joshua Dariye from Plateau state was quizzed by police on money laundering allegations involving more than £1m ($1.7m).

He was freed on bail and returned to Nigeria and is still wanted for questioning by British police.

Nigeria is considered one of the most corrupt countries, but President Olusugun Obasanjo has vowed to fight the problem.

As a result, he set up the EFCC after his election in 1999.

Although a number of senior officials have been put under investigation for alleged corruption in recent months, there has not been any significant conviction during his six years in power.

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