President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has pardoned two former governors and 157 other convicts for financial crimes. 

Driving the news 
The two former governors pardoned by Nigeria’s President include Plateau and Taraba states, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame.

Background to the story 
The governors of Plateau and Taraba State from 1999 to 2007, an eight years tenure, were convicted of looting public funds by the apex court in Nigeria in 2018. 

  • Plateau State’s Joshua Dariye looted N1.16billion and initially received a 14-year sentence. A Court of Appeal in Abuja later reduced it to 10 years.
  • Jolly Nyame stole N1.6billion and received a 12-year sentence. 
  • The Council of State last Thursday with the approval of President Buhari pardoned the two former governors alongside 157 other convicts. 

Council of state 
The Council of State is an arm of the Federal Government that advises the federal executives on policy matters. Its members are the current President and vice-president, past Presidents, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and both serving and past Chief Justices of Nigeria. 

  • Others include the Attorney General of the Federation, all governors and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory.

What they are saying 
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, explaining the actions of the Council of State said that the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) led by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, took a tour around the country and nominated cases for presidential pardons. He added that of the 412 inmates interviewed, President Buhari presented only 162 to the Council of State. 

  • Garba Shehu further noted that it is normal for the case of former governors to gain traction from the public. He debunked claims that the governors received pardons for political reasons. 

Since the pardon, several activist groups have condemned the pardon of the former governors by the President. 

  • The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, says such pardon is unlawful and is suing the President.
  • Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) claims that the President was conferring advantages on certain groups of citizens.
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