CEFSAN kicks against pardon for ex-Governors Dariye, Nyame

NEWS DIGEST – A civil society group, Center for Human Rights and Social Sdvancement (CEFSAN) has decried the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to grant state pardon to ex-Plateau and Taraba state Governors, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame.

According to a statement made available to News Digest and signed by Group’s Executive Director, Yusha’u Sani Yankuzo Esq. on Sunday the group said the action of the President is a complete sabotage to what he and his party professed to represent.

Read FULL statement below:

The Center for Human Rights and Social Advancement (CEFSAN) is a non-profit, non-governmental and non-partisan organization whose members are legal practitioners, academics and other professionals from all walks of life.

The Centre is working towards the promotion of human rights, democracy, good governance and peace & security in Nigeria. The Centre which has its headquarters in Kano-Nigeria has been providing free legal aid to indigent people in Nigeria who cannot afford the services of legal representation in Court.

The Centre has convened an emergency meeting on the 15th day of April, 2022 to peruse the decision of the National Council of State chaired by President Muhamadu Buhari which decided to grant pardon to two former Executive Governors namely; Joshua Dariye of Plateau State and Jolly Nyame of Taraba State who were convicted for various offences relating to stealing and misappropriation of public funds.

Prior to the pronouncement of the Presidential Pardon, Dariye was convicted and sentenced to 10-year imprisonment by a Federal High Court in 2018 for the offences of Stealing, Looting Public Funds amounting to 2 Billion Naira, and Criminal Breach of Trust amongst others during his tenure as the Executive Governor of Plateau State between 1999 to 2007. The said conviction and Sentence of 10-year jail term was upheld by the Apex Court. In the same vein, Nyame was also convicted and sentenced to serve a 12-year jail term by a Federal High Court as a result of Misappropriation and Looting of Public Funds amounting to close to 2 Billion Naira during his 8 years’ tenure as the Executive Governor of Taraba state, a sentence which was also upheld by the Supreme Court.

To our greatest dismay, at the end of the 14 April, 2022 Council of State meeting a pardon was pronounced to both convicts. Both the former and the later were granted presidential pardon on health and age grounds. However, looking at the nature of Dariye and Nyame’s offenses thus; using public office for personal aggrandizement and looting, the offences which could have the effect of crippling the wellbeing of their respective subjects by plunging them into abject poverty and insecurity, the rigorous judicial exercises expanded, the time spent and money lost during their respective trials, and equally taking into cognizance the current state of affairs in Nigeria, the action of Mr. President appears to be a complete sabotage to what he and his party professed to represent.

Imagine if it were the other way round, an ordinary Nigerian at the center of controversy with our penal laws, the whole judicial arsenal will be deployed for his trial, having of course spent terrible sleepless nights behind bars, tried and convicted and perhaps for an offence he was wrongly found guilty, on a narrow threshold of circumstantial evidence and forced confessional statement, could he equally enjoy the Presidential pardon? Certainly not, because he is a commoner and the law is for the protection of the elite.

Therefore, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Advancement (CEFSAN) at the end of its emergency meeting condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of the Council of State. CEFSAN will therefore conclude that unless the decision by the President is revisited, the claim of anticorruption crusade by the APC led government is nothing but a hoax, sham and an exercise in futility despite the huge budgeting for the finance of anticorruption institutions and agencies, whereas on the side of the judiciary such pardoning is a backlash. This act of Mr. President begs the question on how serious this administration is in curbing both economic and security challenges that ordinary Nigerians are subjected to on a daily basis.

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