In the aftermath of the presidential pardon granted to former Governors, Senator Joshua Dariye of Plateau State and ex-Governor Jolly Nyame of Taraba State by President Muhammadu Buhari, a video has emerged of Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai criticizing former President Goodluck Jonathan for the same act.
The Council of State on Thursday had authorized the pardon of 159 convicts, including Senator Joshua Dariye of Plateau State and ex-Governor Jolly Nyame of Taraba State, who were both imprisoned for stealing N1.16 billion and N1.6 billion respectively.
Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory High Court had convicted Dariye and Nyame in 2018.
However, El-Rufai, in the May 2013 interview on STRAIGHTalk, a programme on TVC, slammed Jonathan for pardoning corrupt politicians while insisting that no government had pardoned such criminality.
“Nobody said you should eradicate corruption but don’t go about pardoning convicted people that have been convicted; you are sending the wrong signals, not only to those engaging in corruption but to young people who see that there is reward in being corrupt. Tell me which government before Jonathan pardoned convicted corrupt people,” the Kaduna Governor stated.
Former Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was convicted of stealing millions of dollars in public funds, was pardoned by Jonathan in March 2013.
Jonathan’s ally Alamieyeseigha was sentenced to two years in prison in 2007 on charges of corruption and money laundering.
It was the first time in the country’s history that a high-ranking politician had been found guilty of graft.
After over two years in custody awaiting trial, he only served a few days of his sentence. If he chooses, the pardon will allow him to return to politics.
The pardon was “shocking and unbelievable,” according to Nuhu Ribadu, the former director of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which prosecuted Alamieyeseigha.
Alamieyeseigha was arrested in London in 2005, but he evaded capture by posing as a lady and fleeing back to Nigeria. On the charges, he was impeached at home, and officials attempted to seize much of his British property.
Jonathan proposed the pardon, which was accepted on the same day by the council of state, which includes past heads of state, a former chief justice, serving governors, and the national legislature.
“The council of state met and approved pardons for many Nigerians, including former Bayelsa governor DSP Alamieyeseigha and many others. I think about eight of them,” presidential spokesman Doyin Okupe had explained to pressmen.