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Amid outcry, Presidency gives reason for pardons granted to Dariye, Nyame

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Nigerian govt pardons former Govs Dariye, Nyame after conviction for misappropriating N2.7bn

The Presidency on Wednesday explained its reason for granting pardons to former Governors Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, stating that it was in accordance with constitutional standards.

This was contained in a statement by Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, who supported President Muhammadu Buhari, claiming that his actions were fated.

The pardon, according to Shehu, will have no impact on the fight against corruption, and the two governors were chosen based on their health situations.

Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said last week that 159 people had received presidential pardons.

As a result, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had come under fire, particularly for including the former governors who were convicted of corruption.

However, Shehu said, “The Presidency wishes to throw light on the recent note presented to the Council of State, on the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, PACPM as a culmination of a process begun by the convicts and others concerned in line with the Constitution.

“Section 175 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) enjoins the President to exercise his constitutional powers “to grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions; to grant respite, either for an indefinite or a specified period of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence; substitute a less severe form of punishment imposed on that person for such an offence or remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on the person for such an offence or of penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the state on account of such an offence.

“The Federal Government constituted the PACPM on August 28th, 2018 with the mandate of assisting the President in the discharge of his constitutional responsibility of granting pardon/clemency to convicts or ex-convicts in deserving cases.

“The Committee filed its first report in March 2020 and reconvened on Thursday, 28 September 2021 to attend to the myriad of pending applications for presidential pardon and clemency from Nigerians across the country.

“These accrued cases followed the established process of applying for pardon or clemency first to the Correctional Service (formerly Nigerian Prison Service), which must certify claims made, be they of life-threatening ill-health, (as in the cases of Governors Dariye, Nyame; John Joshua Uloh, Engr Umar Bamalli, Sa’adu Ayinla Alanamu, Charles Ihenatu, Akinwumi Ajayi and tens of others making the approved list of 159; or such cases arising from remorse and good conduct or plainly on the basis of compassion among other stated criteria.

“The PACPM members, under the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, followed up the recommendations with a visit to selected Correctional Centers in several states of the Federation to “critically appraise and identify potential cases of convicts and ex-convicts before recommending them for presidential pardon/clemency and reduced sentences.”

Read also: Presidential pardon for Dariye, Nyame egg squashed on faces of Nigerians – Soyinka

“In this round of the exercise, 412 inmates were interviewed and 162 were recommended to the Council of State by the President in the exercise of his powers, pursuant to Section 175 (2) which requires that he should carry out this function after being “advised by the Council.”

“While it is natural that the cases of the ex-governors-two among many- would excite political analysts, coming at a time when elections are in the air, the President would at the same time have come across as insensitive and cruel to most people were he to have ignored very compelling cases recommended for pardon made to him because someone is a former Governor. Even Governors have the right to be treated fairly under the law.

“President Buhari assures the nation that nothing done here was intended to achieve a political end or send a revisionist message on the relentless war against corruption which he has ably and evidently led by personal examples.”

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