The Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks, has issued a stern warning to President Muhammadu Buhari over state pardon granted to ex-governors and about 157 others.
Buhari had at the council of state meeting on Thursday, April 14, granted pardons, under the Prerogative of Mercy, to Joshua Dariye, former governor of Plateau State, and Jolly Nyame of Taraba State.
The pardon for the ex-governors, who are both serving various jail terms for misappropriation of funds, has continued to elicit intense outrage.
In a statement signed by Ibrahim Waiya, its chairman, and Ibrahim Yusuf, its secretary-general, the coalition said the move was in contrast to Buhari’s mouthed fight against corruption.
The coalition also blasted the president, saying despite coming to power with the promise of tackling corruption, his actions and policies have always been against the efforts to support and strengthen the anti-graft institutions in Nigeria.
The statement read, “It has come to our notice that, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, has through the council of states pardoned two former state governors who were jailed for stealing public funds in 2018 and were yet to serve half the length of their jail terms in prison. This is rather unfortunate, shocking and at best, paradoxical coming from a man who rode to the corridor of power under the guise of anti-corruption.
“We wish to remind His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari that fighting against corruption was the leading pillar of his campaign promises and administration agenda, upon which many Nigerians believed and supported his presidential bid.
“It is however unfortunate that since the inception of this administration in 2015 the actions and policies of the Government have always been against the efforts to support and strengthen the anti-graft institutions in Nigeria, such as EFCC, Judiciary and others, but are rather ridiculed and making a caricature of their selfless services.
“We are aware of the level at which corruption has succeeded in undermining the operations of many institutions and processes, and giving rise to anti-public policies.
“Consequently, if such practices are allowed to thrive continuously, corruption would damage, in entirety, the legitimacy of this regime and shall surely lead to a total loss of public sympathy and trust in the system.
“Similarly, the Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks wishes to remind His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari of one of his favourite statements “If we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us.
“The current action to grant a state pardon to some corruption convicts is surely a disservice to the nation and a breach of social contract between the President and the Nigerian citizens on whose mandate, the President acts.
“We, the members of this great conference and as anti-corruption ambassadors hereby condemn this action in totality and request His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to as matter of urgency reverse his decision on state pardon granted to some corruption convicts, in the interest of Nigerian citizens.
“Failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse his action, the conference shall be left with no option but to canvass for the support of other civil society organisations across the country and beyond to pass a vote of no confidence on Federal Government, and this measure we believe may lead to a total loss of public trust, and by implications, the government may lose its integrity and support of the Nigerian citizens.”