President Muhammadu Buhari and the Council of State have approved the pardon of 159 convicts including a former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Dariye; and ex-Governor Jolly Nyame of Taraba State, who were both imprisoned for stealing N1.16bn and N1.6bn respectively.
This action according to observers, is the final nail to the coffin of a pretended war against corruption and the acclaimed integrity toga cast upon president Buhari by his supporters including vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
The Plateau state Commissioner for Information, Dan Manjang, confirmed the pardon saying the ex-governor had been given a second chance.
He said: “Every Plateau man is happy about it and we give kudos to the President for honouring us in this manner. We want to also thank whoever that has a hand in making it happen because everybody makes mistakes and you can make errors while in governance.
“As of today, he (Dariye ) has been given a reprieve as if nothing has happened and that is the spirit we have to imbibe as a people that when we make mistakes, we have to forgive because nobody is above error “
The Director of Press and Public Affairs, Government House, Dr Macham Makut, also confirmed that Governor Simon Lalong was at the council of State meeting where Dariye was granted state pardon.
The Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Prof. Joseph Kunini, also hailed Nyame’s pardon in a statement on Thursday.
The Spokesman for Dariye, Mr. Christopher John, confirmed the pardon of both Dariye and Nyame saying the pardon of the ex-governors had nothing to do with the fact that they were members of the All Progressives Congress.
He claimed that both men were unfairly convicted, adding that their pardon was a form of vindication.
Dariye’s aide continued: “We are so excited about this. We’ve been expecting for a long time and fortunately, it has come at this time. We thank God and the government for granting him this pardon. The Nigerian system has made many court judgments unreliable. You can be roped into things you know nothing about.
“I believe that it is the will of God for him to be released. I don’t trust the Nigerian court system. Jolly Nyame was also released and we thank God. It has nothing to do with them being in the APC. It was even the PDP that charged them to court. The APC was not in power when this thing started. We know the genesis.”
Road to prison
Dariye and Nyame were convicted by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in 2018. Dariye, who was governor from 1999 to 2007, was jailed for laundering public funds to the tune of N1.162bn and was sentenced to 14 years in prison by Justice Banjoko who has since been elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Dariye’s prison term was later reduced to 10 years by the Court of Appeal in Abuja while his conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Also Rev Nyame, who was governor of Taraba State from 1999 to 2007, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for stealing N1.6bn from the state’s treasury, a judgment which was also upheld by the Supreme Court.