The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN has claimed the state pardon granted to ex-governors Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, former governors of Plateau and Taraba states respectively is simply because of the 2023 general elections.
The former governors, along with 157 others, will be released from prison after the Council of State approved a proposal by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to grant them a state pardon.
This move has attracted the outrage of several Nigerian citizens and civil societies.
Reacting, Bayo Oladeji, CAN’s spokesperson, in an interview with Premium Times, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of promoting the same corruption he had condemned while seeking power.
“This is a president who came to power on the mantra of fighting corruption now seemingly promoting corruption. Now, not a few Nigerians believe that corruption is still walking on its four legs in the corridors of power at all levels of government.
“These two former governors were sentenced and their sentences were confirmed by the apex court. If they could be freed or granted state pardon, the impression being created is that the two of them were released because of the coming general elections.”
Oladeji added that the two anti-graft agencies, who were involved in the trial, could be discouraged from fighting corruption dutifully due to the president’s use of his power of prerogative of mercy.
He suggested that Buhari’s action could have the impact of emboldening corrupt public officials.
“The government should bear in mind that the trials of these two former governors cost the state a lot of money. They were sentenced for stealing public money. And the same public money was used to prosecute them.
“The question now is: Of what importance were their trials? How can we now convince incumbent governors and ministers not to steal public funds since a precedent has been set?” he added.