The governor of Nigeria's oil-producing Bayelsa state was arrested today minutes after state lawmakers removed his immunity by impeaching him.
Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha faces money-laundering charges and fled Britain last month; Nigerian authorities have also accused him of financial wrongdoing, which he denies.
"Chief Alamieyeseigha stands impeached as governor of Bayelsa. The chief judge of the state is hereby put on notice to swear in the acting governor, Mr Goodluck Jonathan, as the substantive governor of the state," assembly speaker Peremobowei Ebebi said just after the vote.
Minutes later, police and troops, who had been besieging the governor in his office in the state capital, Yenagoa, arrested him and took him to police headquarters. The state's police commissioner said he was being questioned about allegations of financial improprieties.
The federal government deployed hundreds of troops in Bayelsa, in the southern Niger Delta, two weeks ago following the return of Mr Alamieyeseigha, who jumped bail in London where he was facing trial on charges of laundering £1.8 million pounds (€2.7 million).
Bayelsa pumps a quarter of Nigeria's 2.4 million barrels per day oil output. The governor has said he was being persecuted for fighting for the rights of the Ijaw, who are the main ethnic group in the Niger Delta but a minority in Nigeria.
The impeachment and arrest are a major victory for President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been waging a high-profile campaign against corruption, particularly involving some state governors, but has been frustrated by their immunity.
But in a country where looting of public funds is rife, Mr Obasanjo's critics have argued that his anti-corruption war is only being waged against political foes, and that he leaves his allies undisturbed.