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Friday 15 April 2022


By- Maiwada Dammallam

According to Premium Times,Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, former Governors of Plateau and Taraba States respectively, both jailed for multi-billion Naira corruption cases, were among the 157 prisoners granted pardon by the National Council of State. The two high profile ex-cons were granted pardon on “health grounds.”

This is a big slap on Nigerians and an irreversible setback on this administration’s war against corruption. It’s fair to say not only are high profile corruption cases languishing in various courts with waning prospect of exemplary convictions, With this, it could be said that the few cases judicially processed conclusively and satisfactorily in favor of shortchanged Nigerians are being used to question the commitment of this administration towards fighting corruption. 

Many Nigerians had reasoned with the government for the sluggish judicial system that’s yet to make a reasonable statement about the overhyped repulsion of the administration against corruption. We excused the administration using the cumbersomeness of fighting the war using obsolete laws and somewhat compromised judiciary as a fair variable. It’s quite unfortunate that the National Council of State could simply sit and pardon people fairly adjudged as dangerous to Nigeria’s development and judicially convicted as such. 

This is more painful coming almost simultaneously with the commendable decision of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday which quashed the sentence of two years imprisonment with option of N750,000 fine imposed by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on a former official of the Police Pension Office, Yakubu Yusuf,  for stealing N24bn pension funds. In a unanimous judgment, the appellate court described the High Court’s sentence as unreasonable and substituted it with a total of six years’ imprisonment with an addition of N22.9bn fine. Many Nigerians thought they have seen the last of absurdities in our court rooms where corruption cases are decided in the most bizarre manner imaginable. How wrong! Now a new window of escape has been added to corruption warlords — the National Council! of state. I wonder if it could get any worse. 

Even worse, while corrupt leaders who stole the country dry, effectively pushing many Nigerians into petty criminality are being pardoned for crimes that in saner climes are dealt with decisively using firing squads or the hangman’s noose, out prisons are over-populated with petty criminals awaiting trials for decades and mostly for crimes that  couldn’t earn them more 6 months to year. And nobody seem to notice or care about this inhuman denial or abuse of right and absolute disregard to human dignity. 

So, who will question the logic of Nigerians for refusing to take this administration serious on its war against corruption? This ain’t brain surgery and an average Nigeria could guess that the Dariye and Nyame whose cases were argued before the National Security Council to be pardoned on “health grounds” will, in the next few months , be healthy enough to be running around in high-end Jeeps with blaring sirens, campaigning for senatorial seats or even the coveted office of the president. An average primary school kid could easily predict this anomaly with zero room for error. This is the saddest thing to happen to this administration after the intractable problem of insecurity largely caused by the corrupt tendencies of our leaders that, without a doubt, degraded Nigeria to what it is today. 

I’m truly pained!

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