The controversial presidential pardon granted to former Governors Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, April 14, sparked outrage nationwide.
The two former governors who were convicted and jailed for stealing public funds were among the 159 convicted granted presidential pardon.
The pardon was announced after the National Council of State ratified it at its meeting on Thursday.
Dariye, ex-Plateau state governor and Nyame, ex-Taraba state governor, are still serving jail terms of 10 and 12 years, respectively, after their conviction and sentencing were affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Nigerians widely criticised their pardon as sabotaging the anti-corruption war by the government that came to power on the mantra of fighting corruption.
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With the presidential amnesty, the former convicts are free to return to their normal public lives, seek elective positions and take up appointments. They are also no longer to be referred to as ex-convicts.
According to Premium Times, the pardon granted to the 159 persons followed the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM).
Legit.ng gathers that the PACPM was constituted by President Buhari in August 2018 and is headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
The committee was set up to advise the president on granting pardon/clemency to deserving inmates and ex-convicts in line with the provisions of section 175 of the Nigerian constitution.
List of committee members
Below are the names of the members of the committee that recommended the controversial pardon:
- Abubakar Malami (chairman) – Attorney-General of the Federation
- Jim-Jaja Ibiwari (Secretary to the committee) Director of Special Duties in the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs is the Secretary of the Committee.
- Anthonia A. Ekpa – Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs
- Leticia Ayoola-Daniels – Representative of the Ministry of Justice
- Raphael Ibinuhi – the representative of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS)
- Shehu Gwarzo – a commissioner of police, representing the Nigeria Police Force
- Albert Uko – representing the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
- Professor Auwalu Yadudu – representing Jamaat Nasri Islam (JNI)
- Yetunde Haastrup of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
- Lady Obodoukwu – eminent Nigerian
- Lucy Ajayi – eminent Nigerian
- Joshua Mbu – eminent Nigerian
- B.A. Ogunbambi – eminent Nigerian
State pardon: Group commends Buhari, says gesture not strange
Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, Equity And Justice In Politics And Governance Movement (EJPGM), has said the state pardon granted to 159 Nigerians is not strange.
The group in a press briefing attended by a Legit.ng's reporter commended President Buhari for the gesture.
The executive secretary of the group, Comrade Ogbeh Tobias, said before the state pardon granted to the 159 persons, about 10,000 inmates have also benefitted from the decongestion of correctional centres embarked upon by federal government since 2017.