A former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nasir El-Rufai, and a chieftain of the All Progressive Party, APC, has expressed concern over the act of granting state pardon to convicted political office-holders.
El-Rufai, while delivering a lecture on “Corruption, and the Challenge of Good Governance” at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) on Sunday, said such acts would encourage corruption.
El-Rufai said giving state pardon to convicted political office-holders would encourage many corrupt Nigerians.
He said it would also particularly give the youths the impression that corruption was something good and which people should get involved in.
“Pardoning convicted corrupt persons in Nigeria is sending a wrong message to the young ones,” the former FCT minister said.
El-Rufai said the nation was undergoing interesting times, particularly with the state of insecurity in the northern part of the country.
The former Minister pointed out that the situation insecurity in Nigeria was as a result of the failure of intelligence agencies which are also riddled with corruption.
El-Rufai said corruption would always affect good governance when it is not checked, adding that it had already affected basic societal necessities such as electricity, infrastructure, water and security, among others.
He said the root of corruption should be tackled by improving the welfare package for members of the police force, a good wage for public servants, and punishment for corrupt persons.
“We should make it difficult for corruption to be consummated by reducing cash going round. We should remove what can push a honest person to corruption,” the former minister said.
In March 2013, the National Council of State granted state pardon to former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreiye Alamieyeseigha, among others and it drew wide condemnation from members of the public.
Alamieyeseigha was detained in London in September 2005 on charges of money laundering and at the time of his arrest, Metropolitan police found about £1m in cash in his London home. Later they found a total of £1.8m ($3.2m) in cash and bank accounts.
He, however, jumped bail in December 2005 from the United Kingdom by disguising himself as a woman and returning to Nigeria.
He has been found to own real estate in London worth an alleged £10 million.
In Nigeria, Alamieyeseigha pleaded guilty to six charges on July 26, 2007 and was sentenced to two years in prison on each charge but was released on July 27, just hours after being taken to prison, due to time already served.
The sentences were set to run concurrently and the time was counted from the point of his arrest nearly two years before the sentences.
Many of his assets were ordered to be forfeited to the Bayelsa state government.