TWO former governors who were convicted and jailed for corruption, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, of Plateau and Taraba states, respectively, were among 159 convicts that were granted clemency and pardon by the Federal Government on Thursday.
The former governors and the others were pardoned on the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, according to Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
Malami announced the development after the Council of State meeting presided over by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
Malami did not name the beneficiaries of the state pardon but reports emerged afterwards that Dariye and Nyame were among those that were pardoned.
Nyame, governor of Taraba State from 1999 to 2007, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for misappropriation of funds while he was in office.
He has been serving the sentence in Kuje prison.
Dariye was Plateau State governor within the same period, 1999 to 2007.
He was jailed for stealing N2 billion of public funds during his time in office.
Dariye was serving as senator representing Plateau Central in the Senate at the time he was sentenced in June 2018 but he was able to complete his tenure from jail in 2019.
Dariye was initially sentenced to 14 years in prison but the term was later reduced to 10 years by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
It is expected that Nyame and Dariye will immediately leave prison following Thursday’s state pardon.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Malami said the Council of State endorsed 159 out of 162 convicts that were recommended for clemency and advised the president to grant them pardon and mercy.
Malami said, “In the exercise of the powers on the granting of pardon, precisely on August 28, 2018, the President put in place a committee known as the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.
“It was saddled with the responsibility of visiting the country’s correctional facilities and making recommendations to the President on the exercise of his power of mercy and compassion, to either grant pardon to those that had been convicted, clemency, or some other form of concessions by way of reduction in sentence and term.
“It was in the exercise of such duties and responsibility in line with the terms of the Committee on Prerogative of Mercy that we presented the report to the President and the requirements of the law on the exercise of that mercy and pardon, should seek the advice of the Council of State.
“In line with that, a memo was presented by the president this afternoon to the council, through which the report of the Committee was presented to the council for its advice.
“The Committee submitted 162 people presented to the President for such consideration.
“Twenty-six of the inmates are recommended for a presidential pardon, 85 surviving ex-convicts were recommended for a presidential pardon, and one deceased person was recommended for a posthumous presidential pardon.
“Twenty-seven inmates were recommended for presidential clemency, 13 inmates were for a review of their sentences or prison terms, 10 inmates were presented for a reduced sentence from death to life imprisonment.
“In total, 162 convicts were presented for the President’s consideration for pardon and mercy.”
The AGF said requests for pardon for three convicts were rejected in order not to condone malfeasance.
According to him, one of the those whose request was turned down was sentenced for 120 years over stealing and had only served for five months in prison.
He said the name of the convict was submitted due to the victim’s medical condition but the Council rejected his inclusion for pardon because of the gravity of the offence.
Malami further disclosed that another convict whose inclusion on the presidential pardon list was rejected was convicted for the offence of forgery and sentenced for 14 years in prison and has only served one year and six months.
The third convict who was denied pardon was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for obtaining money by false pretence.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly Joseph Kunini hailed Nyame’s pardon in a statement on Thursday.
Describing Nyame as a worthy son the state, the Speaker said his wealth of experience will be invaluable to the state especially during the coming elections.
Director of Press and Public Affairs in the Plateau State Government House, Macham Makut, confirmed Dariye’s pardon.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via email@example.com and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.