Two senior advocates of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana and Jubrin Okutepa, have called out President Muhammadu Buhari over the amnesty granted former governors of Plateau and Taraba states, Mr Joshua Dariye and Rev Jolly Nyame who were convicted for stealing N2.9billion.
They spoke at a separate forum.
Falana who was the guest speaker at the Oluyinka Odumakin Foundation and Book Launch held in Lagos on Friday, said it’s unconscionable for President Buhari to do so.
“If you pardon the big thieves because they belong to your political party, you must also extend the same gesture to others. Those who stole billions were release while those who stole noodles worth just 5k was jailed six months or with the options of fine of 30k. Though, I sent a lawyer to pay the fine, but what is just is just.” Falana said.
Okutepa in a write up said:
“If the news making round is true that the president has granted state pardon to former Governor of Plateau and Taraba States, then it is unconscionable and grossly unfair to keep those who were jailed for petty theft in prison to complete their jail terms.
“These two politically exposed persons were tried and convicted for stealing our commonwealth. The three tiers of courts in Nigeria were unanimous in their verdicts that they were corrupt and corruptly enriched themselves while serving as governors of their respective states. They betrayed the trusts of the people while serving as chief executives of their states. They pilfered the resources of the states meant for development.
“I like many reasonable Nigerias cannot believe that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be persuaded and advised and be this reckless to grant them amnesty. This is joke taken too far.
What is the basis wasting resources prosecuting them and others in the first place. What lessons are we been told to learn here. The lessons that steal while in power, get convicted and your get pardoned? Nigeria is a joke. Those in power take us as fools. What kind of prerogative of mercy is this. There is an abuse in this prerogative of mercy. How did we find ourselves in this mess.
“The Nigerian constitution imposes a duty on Mr president and all those in power to eradicate corruption. ICPC and EFCC and other security outfits were set up to achieve that purpose. Then these agencies will do their work and someone in the name of prerogative of mercy will sabotage their work by granting pardon to those the agencies laboured to investigate and prosecuted to conviction.
“I have not seen a country where people brazenly abuse power using constitution like Nigeria. Granted that the constitution gives the president and the state governors the powers to grant amnesty or prerogative of mercy to some convicts in deserving cases the exercise of such power must not be done in abuse of power and to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.
It is too fresh in our memories the degree of corruption in Nigeria to pardon those who were found guilty of corruption and corrupt enrichment through due processes of law. How will the Federal Government convince Nigerians that it is serious about fighting corruption now?
“I suggest that these ex governors be not only pardoned but they should be given the highest honour in the land as the most celebrated governors who did well by stealing the commonwealth of their states and pardoned by government whose mantras was fighting corruption but whose act in pardoning those who were jail has now encouraged people to steal while in power.
“No wonder this government seems to be looking the other ways when employments are being sold to Nigerians. What a country what a pity. I weep for Nigeria and Nigerians. No wonders corruption is the most lucrative business ventures in Nigeria.
“No wonder those in power see corruption as a means of making money. No wonder nobody is policing anybody to stop corruption. No wonder in the mist of plenty resources Nigerians are wallowing in abject poverty. No wonder those who have failed us in all areas of governance have set up themselves to continue to loot our commonwealth. No wonder nothing works in Nigeria. No wonder we are at the mercy of those who ought to be at the mercy of Nigerians. I weep for Nigeria and Nigerians. It is sad that we are being inflicted with aggravated punishment in the name of governance in Nigeria.”