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The Controversy over Bill Gates’ Visit to Nigeria & Alamieyeseigha’s Pardon



On Monday 18th March, there were some media reports that America’s richest man Bill Gates cancelled his scheduled March 27 official visit to Nigeria in response to the controversial pardon granted by President Goodluck Jonathan to two ex-convicts, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha  and Shettima Bulama.

He was due in Nigeria on 27th and 28th March to meet President Jonathan, state governors and officials of the Federal Ministry of Health concerning the aggressive polio eradication campaign his Bill and Melinda Foundation is undertaking in the country.

Premium Times and Punch reported that the cancellation of his trip was as a result of the unfolding diplomatic row between the US and Nigeria following the controversial pardon.

A source told Premium Times on Monday morning: “The body language of Washington D.C. does not support his travelling to Nigeria.  The thinking here is that the Nigerian government has high tolerance level for corruption and should be ostracized in all ways possible.”

But in another report, James Whittington, a 
senior communications officer, (Africa and Middle East) with the foundation told Premium Times that the reasons  their sources gave for the cancellation of Gates’ visit are false.

Similarly, the Special Adviser to President  Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said the cancellation of Gates’ trip was not connected to the Presidential pardon.

Abati told Channels TV that Gates’ travels are often dependent on the schedules and availability of many other people and partners and that in this particular case, because these other people and partners will not be available at the time he is presently scheduled to visit Nigeria, they have to reschedule the visit.

Although it comes as a relief that his cancelled trip was not connected to the Presidential pardon, it should not be ruled out that majority of Nigerians are still upset about it and that the pardon might result in more losses than gains for Nigeria especially with respect to beneficial international relationships.

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Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. Specs

    March 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Rueben Abati!!! hmmmmn…..I await the end of this traitor!

    • tomeloma

      March 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Reubi Abati is a real disppointment…to me, to Guardian, to Nigeria,to think I used to frantically read his newspaper articles and eat up everything he said..God will judge

  2. Chyke

    March 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Badluck Jonathan deserve to be flogged cos he is a huge disappointment to Naija. He should grant pardon to Boko Harams too na.

  3. tt

    March 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

    good move Bill Gates.. your money will be unaccounted for. stay away for now! corrupt country we live in. selfish leaders

  4. chuchusweets

    March 19, 2013 at 11:19 am

    The thinking here is that the Nigerian government has high tolerance level for corruption and should be ostracized in all ways possible.”- TRUTH

  5. ij

    March 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    anyway whenever he finally comes i hope they get somewhere with the issue of those mental cases in the north that are standing in the way of GLOBAL eradication of polio.

  6. lorenz

    March 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Who cares if he cancels his visit to Nigeria because of a pardon? Were the people he granted a pardon, not free men before the pardon sef? the pardon only made it official. Is it not the same America where someone who kills tens of people ends up in a Madhouse instead of a prison, because his lawyers plead insanity? I don’t know why Nigerians are even concerned about what the American govt thinks? We should be more worried about pleasing the Chinese; China is the new America, whether you and I like it or not.

  7. pynk

    March 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Abati sounds highly illiterate

  8. Blue

    March 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Nigeria Stinks!

  9. many people

    March 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm


  10. Iris

    March 20, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Wait…Reuben Abati said it? If they wanted me to believe it they should have said a drunk homeless men under the bridge said it.

  11. Kenneth

    March 20, 2013 at 10:41 am

    If Bill want 2 help Nigeria abt polio, let hm 4get our leaders and help d masses. Our leaders ar corrupt n dia generatn wil remain lyk dat until dy die. Our generatn wil com wit gr8 tins.

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