The presidency says ignoring the request to pardon Joshua Dariye, ex-governor of Plateau, and Jolly Nyame, former governor of Taraba, over “life-threatening” illness would have been seen as insensitive on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The former governors were among 159 inmates granted pardon at a council of state meeting held on April 14.
Nyame is serving a 12-year jail sentence for diverting N1.64 billion during his tenure as governor of Taraba, while Dariye is serving 10 years’ imprisonment for N1.126 billion fraud.
The president has been criticised for granting clemency to the two governors.
But in a statement on Wednesday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, said the decision was taken based on the advice of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM).
Shehu said Buhari’s action was in line with the constitution as section 175(1) gives the president the constitutional powers “to grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions”.
“The Committee filed its first report in March 2020 and reconvened on Thursday, 28 September 2021 to attend to the myriad of pending applications for presidential pardon and clemency from Nigerians across the country,” the statement by Shehu reads.
“These accrued cases followed the established process of applying for pardon or clemency first to the Correctional Service, which must certify claims made, be they of life-threatening ill-health, (as in the cases of Governors Dariye, Nyame; John Joshua Uloh, Engr Umar Bamalli, Sa’adu Ayinla Alanamu, Charles Ihenatu, Akinwumi Ajayi and tens of others making the approved list of 159; or such cases arising from remorse and good conduct or plainly on the basis of compassion among other stated criteria.
“The PACPM members, under the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, followed up the recommendations with a visit to selected Correctional Centers in several states of the Federation to ‘critically’ appraise and identify potential cases of convicts and ex-convicts before recommending them for presidential pardon/clemency and reduced sentences.
“In this round of the exercise, 412 inmates were interviewed and 162 were recommended to the Council of State by the President in the exercise of his powers, pursuant to Section 175 (2) which requires that he should carry out this function after being ‘advised by the Council’.
“Clearly, the presentation to the Council of States meeting last week, attended by former
Presidents, a former Chief Justice and 36 States and the FCT along the lines of its statutory membership was a culmination of a rigorous process, regulated and guided by the law which was not, in any way designed to achieve a political purpose.
“While it is natural that the cases of the ex-governors — two among many — would excite political analysts, coming at a time when elections are in the air, the President would at the same time have come across as insensitive and cruel to most people were he to have ignored very compelling cases recommended for pardon made to him because someone is a former Governor.
“Even Governors have the right to be treated fairly under the law. President Buhari assures the nation that nothing done here was intended to achieve a political end or send a revisionist message on the relentless war against corruption which he has ably and evidently led by personal examples.”
Leave a Reply