April 16, 2021

Senators seek Presidential pardon for convicted colleague on “health, compassionate grounds”

Joshua Dariye

Nigerian Senators, Istifanus Gyang and Gabriel Suswam say a former Governor and Senator, Joshua Dariye convicted for “criminal breach of trust” should be granted “executive pardon”.

In 2007, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), preferred 23 counts of money laundering charge involving alleged diversion of about N1.126billion Plateau State Government’s ecological funds against Dariye.

Trial was delayed but resumed in 2015, following a Supreme Court’s judgment. In 2018, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja sentenced Dariye to 14 years’ imprisonment on the charges of criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of 1.6 billion naira.

Shortly later, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja reduced the sentence to 10 years for breach of trust and two years for money laundering. Dariye however challenged the sentence in the Supreme Court, securing a revocation of his sentence for money laundering last two weeks.

Last Sunday, Senator representing Plateau North in the Nigerian National Assembly, said at the finals of his peace and unity football tournament in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, that the country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari should consider the former Governor for an executive pardon, given his innocence on money laundering as declared by the Supreme Court.

Despite being from different Senatorial zone and Political Party with Dariye, Senator Gyang said, “I wish to make a passionate appeal to Mr. President for a leader of Plateau State, a former Governor of Plateau State that has been in incarceration; that is still undergoing a prison term, in the person of his Excellency, Sen. Joshua Chibi Dariye.

“We in Plateau North are appealing to the President that in view of the recent judgment by the Supreme Court that has absolved Governor Dariye of criminal misappropriation, and that on health grounds – he has been battling with his health, Mr. President, Senator Dariye should be granted executive pardon.”

Former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, during whose tenure Dariye’s trial began, despite being political rivals for decades, also said at the tournament, “Dariye is our son and brother and we are appealing to Mr. President to grant him pardon, and we will continue to pray and support him (Buhari) in his leadership”.

Jang added the appeal for Jolly Nyame, a former Governor of Taraba State who was convicted a year after Dariye. Likewise, Senator Gabriel Suswam who represents Benue North in the National Assembly called for Presidential pardon for Dariye and Nyame. “They have both learned their lessons and have proved repentant and our appeal is for Mr. President to consider them for an executive pardon,” said Suswam.