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Group reacts to pardon granted former convicted governors, says war on corruption has collapsed

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The Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria, has described the state pardon granted two former convicted state governors as a signpost that the anri-corruption fight of the Buhari Administration has crumbled.

The Group in a statement on Sunday, condemned in strong terms the state pardon given to the two state Governors in Nigeria Mr. Joshua Dariye of Plateau Stare and Rev. Jolly Nyame of Taraba State, saying ” it is a sign of failure of the anti-corruption crusade of Buhari Administration and a bad precedence ever set by any Administration on anti- corruption fight in Nigeria.

It described initiators and supporters of the unpopular state pardon as enemies of the country.

In a strongly-worded Press Statement signed and released by a Leading member of the body, Sheikh Abu Sheriff, the Group stated that the Federal Government has endorsed corruption as being part of governing process by the decision to grant the two convicted state governors the state pardon.

The Group stated further that with this action of the FG, “it would amount to injustice to keep in our Correctional Centres all those who have been jailed for corruption and serving various jail terms but who are not Former Governors.

“The fact that these citizens are not elites and political heavy-weights does not mean that they should be kept in prisons all over the Country,” the Group asserted.

” By this singular action of Buhari Administration, corruption has been legalised and bad precedence that would encourage corruption has been set.

It noted that bad governance pervades all the 36 states in Nigeria except Borno State where Professor Umara Zulum remains tall as the ‘Best Governor ‘ for his outstanding performance.

The Group opined that “past and present governors in Nigeria today believe that there would not be any consequence for their economic crimes against the masses while in office and after they have left, that is why they commit economic crimes while in office.

“Now that they have been released unconditionally without completing their jail terms, the coast is clear for the looting spree to continue,” the Group added..

Sherrif said the bandwagon effect the terrible and unfortunate action of Buhari Administration will have is that Justices of the Nation’s Judiciary would be demoralized as their due judicial processes meant to curb crimes especially corruption are being quashed through political consideration.

” Equally, the Anti-corruption Agencies like ICPC and EFCC would no longer pursue cases of corruption and other economic crimes with much seriousness as they would fear political intervention of this nature,” the Group stated.

It said Nigeria’s position in the ‘Committee of Nations’ is gradually descending fastly into anti-people governance in which the ruling class past and present are now ‘sacred cows’; while the poor people are punished even for offenses they have not committed.

The repercussions of this bad decision, it further argued, include the slowing down of actions on corruption cases by Security Agencies in terms of arrest and prosecution of offenders of economic crimes, a situation that would increase the agony of suffering masses as criminal activities can never be abated in such a circumstance.

The group, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rescind the decision on state pardon given to Rev. Jolly Nyame and Mr. Joshua Dariye and let them complete their jail terms before being considered for any state pardon.

“After all,” the Group said, “they are not political prisoners but convicts serving different jail terms for criminal and economic crimes.”

It said it is a wrong step to grant pardon to those convicted of economic crimes involving billions of Naira of taxpayers’ money, adding that such action would give the opportunity to others to commit similar crimes.

On the FG/ASUU imbroglio, the group observed that unfulfilled promises of FG since 2009 was the main cause of dispute between the two giants.

It called on ASUU to reflect on its dialogue with the FG since 2016 which has not yielded the expected gains. It said the bandwagon effects of ASUU incessant strikes and the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to a downward slope in the higher education sector in Nigeria.

The Group, therefore, appealed strongly to ASUU to reconsider its current stance in the interest of the nation and call-off the strike action.

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