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Garba Shehu: Buhari pardoned Dariye, Nyame because they’re too sick to be in prison



President Muhammadu Buhari has done the right thing by pardoning convicted criminals, former Governors Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, says presidential media aide Garba Shehu.

The presidential aide revealed that Messrs Dariye and Nyame were battling “life-threatening ill health,” so they got Mr Buhari’s presidential pardon.

Mr Shehu explained in a statement on Wednesday that Mr Buhari’s granting pardon to the corrupt criminals was not done “to achieve a political end or send a revisionist message on the relentless war against corruption which he has ably and evidently led by personal examples.”

He cited section 175 (1) of the 1999 Constitution for the president’s action. According to him, their cases followed the established process of applying for pardon or clemency first to the Correctional Service.

Mr Shehu said this must certify claims made, ”be they of life-threatening ill health, (as in the cases of Governors Dariye, Nyame; John Joshua Uloh, Engr Umar Bamalli, Sa’adu Ayinla Alanamu, Charles Ihenatu, Akinwumi Ajayi and tens of others making the approved list of 159; or such cases arising from remorse and good conduct or plainly on the basis of compassion among other stated criteria.”

Following Mr Buhari’s constitution of a Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) on August 28, 2018, to grant pardon and clemency to convicts or ex-convicts in deserving cases, the PACPM members, under attorney general Abubakar Malami followed up the recommendations with a visit to selected prisons in several states “critically appraise and identify potential cases of convicts and ex-convicts before recommending them for presidential pardon/clemency and reduced sentences.”

The Presidency maintained the pardon granted to the convicted ex-governors and scores of others “was a culmination of a rigorous process.”

He said the exercise was also regulated and guided by the law, not designed to achieve a political purpose.

“While it is natural that the cases of the ex-governors — two among many would excite political analysts coming at a time when elections are in the air, the president would at the same time have come across as insensitive and cruel to most people were he to have ignored very compelling cases recommended for pardon made to him because someone is a former governor,” reasoned Mr Shehu. “Even governors have the right to be treated fairly under the law.”