Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nigeria President Grants Pardons

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has pardoned a former state governor convicted of stealing millions of public money, his office said on Wednesday, a move condemned by anti-graft activists, including the man who brought him to book.

President Goodluck Jonathan pardons

Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, ex-governor of oil producing Bayelsa state and ally of Jonathan, was sentenced to two years jail in 2007 on charges of corruption and money laundering. President Goodluck Jonathan, was Mr Alamieyeseigha deputy in Bayelsa State.

It was the first case of a top politician being convicted for graft in the nation's history.

Nuhu Ribadu, former head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that prosecuted Alamieyeseigha, said the pardon was "shocking and unbelievable".

"It's very sad and ... it will have a terrible effect on the fight against corruption," Ribadu told Reuters by telephone.

"The message this is sending out is that corruption is OK. It's telling law enforcement agencies and judiciary: 'don't waste your time anymore' ... I feel sad for my country."

The reaction of the Jonathan administration is that “That is an action that has been taken by the National Council of States and I have no apology for that.” Mr. Jonathan said. “We must begin to respect and honour our institutions. I don’t need to defend the action that has been taken.”

When reminded that the action had created the impression that the government was not serious about the war against corruption, Mr. Jonathan said, “It is not all decisions parents take that are palatable for their kids. But with time they will realize that their parents are right.”

He said pardoning Mr. Alamieyeseigha was in order as the former Bayelsa governor had suffered enough.

“A man was deposed. He was hounded, tried and jail. What is wrong with giving pardon to a remorseful sinner?
Also on the list of those pardoned by Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan was

General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, older brother of former President Umaru Yar'Adua. Major General Shehu Musa Yar’adua was former Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters-a de facto deputy under the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo from 1976- 1979.

After retiring from the military, Mr. Yar’adua became a frontline politician, and the earliest initiators of what later became the current People’s Democratic Party. In 1995, Mr. Yar’adua was arrested and charged in what was widely seen as framed coup charges under the dictatorship of Sani Abacha.

He was sentenced to life in prison by a military tribunal in 1995, after calling on the Nigerian military government of Mr. Abacha and his Provisional Ruling Council to allow civilian rule. He died in captivity on 8 December 1997.

Oladipo Diya is a former military governor, a General Officer Commanding, and a former Chief of Defence Staff. He was appointed Chief of General Staff in 1993 and Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994.

In 1997 Mr. Diya was accused of leading dissident soldiers in an attempted coup to overthrow the dictatorship of Sani Abacha.

Major Bello Magaji; Mohammed Lima Biu; Shettima Bulama; Major-General Abdulkareem Adisa and Major Segun Fadipe.


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