Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, former Military Administrator of Kaduna State, has called on the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to obey President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive and ensure the release of former Governors Plateau and Taraba, Sen. Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame from prison.
Dariye, who is serving a 10-year jail term for money laundering to the tune of N1.126b and Nyame who was sentenced to a 12-year jail term for diverting N1.6b while serving as governor were granted presidential pardon together with 157 convicts by the Council of State led by President Muhammadu Buhari, in April.
However, in a statement released Sunday evening, Col. Umar who in 2021 pleaded with President Buhari to grant a state pardon to the duo, expressed disappointment that almost three months after the pardon, both Dariye and Nyame were still in jail.
He called on the Attorney General to without further delay and in obedience to the directive of the President, transmit their release warrants to the agencies responsible for the release of the former governors.
He however stated that when he made the plea for their release in 2021, he had not meant to excuse their fraud offense nor to undermine the much needed war against corruption in Nigeria. Rather, he said it was a call for a more vigorous war waged with equity and fairness.
He said both Dariye and Nyame had spent two years in detention while their trial lasted and have now served four years after their conviction, making a cumulative six years of their 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,” he said.
The former military administrator said even though their pardon was greeted with public dissent and protests from a section of the public, he added that the public antagonism may have intimidated the government, resulting in the Justice Ministry’s hesitancy in issuing their release warrants to the Ministry of Interior and the National Correctional Service.
“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 said at a time when most Nigerians are calling for equity in every aspect of national life, former governors Dariye and Nyame do not deserve to be singled out but treated like every one 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.