Former Governors of Plateau and Taraba states, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame respectively, convicted for stealing N2.7 Billion public funds have been pardoned by the National Council of State.
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 pardon.
Dariye and Nyame were imprisoned for stealing public funds to the tune of N1.16 billion and N1.6 billion respectively.
“The Council of State today agreed to grant him pardon. They will now write to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who will now ratify it and write to the prison to release him.
“It is a political move. It is a plot for the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, to win Taraba State in the next elections. Buhari lobbied other members of the Council of State to secure Nyame’s release,” a report stated.
“It is just a formality from the AGF to release him once the Council already approved it. The Council considered that the amount Nyame was jailed for is not as big as what other politicians and former governors stole,” another source had corroborated.
The Council took the decision to exercise its prerogative to grant mercy to convicts.
The recommendation was made by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and it was approved by the Council.
Malami who spoke to journalists after Thursday’s Council of State meeting, said 159 out of 162 applications presented for consideration for the prerogative of mercy for convicts and inmates in correctional facilities nationwide, were approved.
The minister said the council rejected a proposal to grant pardon to one of the prisoners sentenced to 120 years for theft of over N25 billion. The prisoner had sought pardon on health grounds.
The Council also approved the proposal to give national awards to 434 Nigerians, as presented by Minister for Special Duties Chief George Akume.
The Supreme Court had in February 2020 upheld the conviction and 12-year jail term given to Nyame, for misappropriation of funds while he was governor of Taraba State.
A five-member panel of the apex court, in a unanimous decision led by Justice Mary Odili, had said it found no reason to set aside concurrent judgements of both the trial court and the Court of Appeal, which found Mr Nyame guilty of misappropriation of funds.
Delivering the lead judgement, Justice Amina Augie, held that the appeal the former governor filed to challenge his conviction and sentence, lacked merit.
The apex court, however, held that the appellate court was wrong to have imposed a fine against Nyame.
Justice Augie, therefore, affirmed the imposed jail term but freed the convicted Mr Nyame from paying a fine for the crime he committed against the state, while he was a governor.
In May 2018, when Justice Adebukola Banjoko first sentenced Nyame to jail.
Dariye was the Plateau governor from 1999 to 2007. He was jailed for laundering public funds to the tune of N1.162bn and was sentenced to 14 years in prison by Justice Banjoko, who was later elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Dariye’s prison term was later reduced to 10 years by the Court of Appeal in Abuja but his conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court.
The Council of State meeting, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, had in attendance former President Goodluck Jonathan and former heads of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar.