Knocks As Buhari Pardons Convicted Ex-Governors, Others

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President Muhammadu Buhari has come under fire for granting state pardon to former governor of Plateau, Joshua Dariye and former governor of Taraba, Jolly Nyame.

This is as several individuals and groups across the country have criticised the President for granting pardons to persons who have been convicted of money laundering.

The National Council of State on Thursday had granted state pardon to Dariye and Jolly Nyame who are serving terms in jail for corruption.

The governors were among 159 prisoners also granted state pardons by the Council at a meeting presided over by Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.

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Among the beneficiaries are a former military general and minister under the Sani Abacha regime, Tajudeen Olanrewaju, an army lieutenant colonel, Akiyode, who was an aide to former deputy to General Abacha, Oladipo Diya; and all the junior officers jailed over the 1990 abortive Gideon Orkar coup.

Nyame, 66, who was the governor of Taraba State from 1999 to 2007, was convicted to serve a 12-year jail term at the Kuje prison over misappropriation of funds while he was in office. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction in February 2020.

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Also, Dariye, 64, who was the Governor of Plateau between 1999 and 2007, was jailed for stealing N2 billion of public funds during his time in power.

However, the council, during its meeting on Thursday pardoned the duo on health and age grounds.

This has since been generating barrage of reactions, with many expressing dissatisfaction at the gesture.

Reno Omokri, a socio-political commentator, in his reaction knocked Buhari for pardoning Dariye and Nyame, who stole billions.

The activist who took to his official twitter handle questioned why the President granted pardons to convicted persons while he is pursuing freedom fighters like Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igboho and Sheikh Zakzaky.

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The tweet reads, “Dear General Buhari, “You just pardoned Dariye and Nyame, who stole billions.

“You are also rehabilitating repentant Boko Haramists. Yet, you are prosecuting Kanu, Igboho and Sheikh Zakzaky. How can you forgive thieves who are killers, only to pursue freedom fighters?”

Similary, a human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana criticized the Buhari administration for granting state pardon to two former governors convicted of corruption.

Falana knocked Buhari for being discriminatory in his pardons. According to the lawyer, the President should also extend same gestures to all convicted thieves in various prisons across the country.

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In his words, “They are pardoning themselves now, the same man who said he came to fight corruption now grants pardon to a man who has stolen billions of naira.

“My reaction is that all criminals, all thieves and criminals in our prisons should be released.

“Under Section 17 of their Constitution, it says there shall be equal rights for all citizens and Section 42 said there shall be no discrimination on the basis of class, gender, whatever. So you cannot take out two people and leave the rest there.

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“If the government doesn’t release others, I am going to suggest to lawyers whose clients are likely to be left in prison to go to court and challenge the discriminatory treatment meted out to their own clients.

“If you want to pardon your friends, you must also extend the presidential pardon to all thieves because if the big thieves are being asked to walk away, we must also extend it to others.”

However, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue, in his reaction commended Buhari for granting state pardon to Dariye and Nyame.

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The governor in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, on Friday, also extended his appreciation to the National Council of States and the federal government over the gesture even as he admitted that some useful lessons must have been learnt from the incident.

The Governor also thanked friends, families and political associates of the two leaders who stood by them during the period of their incarceration.

He said Dariye and Nyame will now reunite with their families and live a happy life once again.

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