Umar Dangiwa, former military administrator of Kaduna, has called for the release of Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, former governors of Plateau state and Taraba state, respectively.
Dangiwa made the call in a statement issued on Sunday.
Dariye(pictured) and Nyame are both in jail for misappropriation of public funds and abuse of office.
In April 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari granted a pardon to the duo on the grounds of age and ill-health.
Dangiwa lamented that both former governors are still in prison – over two months after the president’s pardon.
“When in an interview with the Daily Sun in December of 2021, I pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to grant state pardon to convicted former Governors Josua Dariye and Rev. Jolly Nyame, I didn’t mean to excuse their fraud offence nor to undermine the much-needed war against corruption in Nigeria. Rather, it was a call for a more vigorous war waged with equity and fairness,” he said.
“Both Governors Dariye and Jolly Nyame were convicted of criminal breach of trust in which they embezzled N1.16 billion and N1.6billion respectively.
“Their conviction by a Federal High Court in 2018 followed due judicial process as affirmed by the Supreme Court. Both spent two years in detention while their trial lasted. They have now served a further four years after their conviction, making cumulative six years of a ten-year sentence.
“It is remarkable that the two are so far the only former Governors who have been convicted and have remained in jail even though their colleague Governors have similarly been accused or facing prosecution.
“A few were actually found guilty and jailed – but still managed to remain free! It is difficult to tell what part my appeal had played in the decision of the National Council of State led by President Muhammadu Buhari to magnanimously grant state pardon to Governors Dariye and Nyame along with 159 other convicts. “
Dangiwa said their pardon was greeted with public dissent and protests.
He said many considered the decision as evidence of the lack of seriousness on the part of the government to curb corruption.
Dangiwa said the outcry might have resulted in the “justice ministry’s hesitancy in issuing their release warrant” to the ministry of interior and the National Correctional Service (NCoS).
“And so Governors Dariye and Nyame have remained in prison three months after being granted state pardon,” he added.
“One expected that in the interest of justice and fairness, critics would demand for the resumption and conclusion of the cases of other former Governors. They should interrogate the seeming selective nature of the anti-corruption war which targeted the two Governors while their colleagues walk free. They should also take account of the fact that their pardon is coming less than two years to the end of their mandatory ten-year sentence.”
He added that at a time when most Nigerians are calling for equity in every aspect of national life, “Governors Dariye and Nyame do not deserve to be singled out but treated like everybody else”.
“Besides, I am sure the President will remain steadfast in implementing a decision approved by the National Council of State even if it might seem somewhat unpopular with a section of the public,” he said.
“The Attorney General should, in obedience to the directive of the President, transmit the warrant to the agencies responsible for the release of Governors Josua Dariye and Jolly Nyame without any further delay.”