FG pardons ex-Govs Dariye, Nyame convicted for stealing N2.7bn
THE Council of State led by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has approved the pardon of 159 convicts including a former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Dariye; and ex-Governor Jolly Nyame of Taraba State, who were both imprisoned for stealing N1.16bn and N1.6bn respectively.
Confirming Dariye’s pardon, the Commissioner for Information, Dan Manjang, told The PUNCH that the ex-governor had been given a second chance.
He added “Every Plateau man is happy about it and we give kudos to the President for honouring us in this manner .We want to also thank whoever that has a hand in making it happen because everybody makes mistakes and you can make errors while in governance.
“As of today, he (Dariye ) has been given a reprieve as if nothing has happened and that is the spirit we have to imbibe as a people that when we make mistakes, we have to forgive because nobody is above error “
The Director of Press and Public Affairs, Government House, Dr Macham Makut, also confirmed that Governor Simon Lalong was at the council of State meeting where Dariye was granted state pardon.
The Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Prof. Joseph Kunini, also hailed Nyame’s pardon in a statement on Thursday while The PUNCH reported that there was jubilation in some parts of the state following the news.
The Spokesman for Dariye, Mr. Christopher John, confirmed the pardon of both Dariye and Nyame to one of our correspondents.
John said the pardon of the ex-governors had nothing to do with the fact that they were members of the All Progressives Congress.
He claimed that both men were unfairly convicted, adding that their pardon was a form of vindication.
Dariye’s aide added, “We are so excited about this. We’ve been expecting for a long time and fortunately, it has come at this time. We thank God and the government for granting him this pardon. The Nigerian system has made many court judgments unreliable. You can be roped into things you know nothing about.
“I believe that it is the will of God for him to be released. I don’t trust the Nigerian court system. Jolly Nyame was also released and we thank God. It has nothing to do with them being in the APC. It was even the PDP that charged them to court. The APC was not in power when this thing started. We know the genesis
Dariye and Nyame were convicted by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in 2018. Dariye, who was governor from 1999 to 2007, was jailed for laundering public funds to the tune of N1.162bn and was sentenced to 14 years in prison by Justice Banjoko who has since been elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Dariye’s prison term was later reduced to 10 years by the Court of Appeal in Abuja while his conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court.
For Rev Nyame, who was governor of Taraba State from 1999 to 2007, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for stealing N1.6bn from the state’s treasury, a judgment which was also upheld by the Supreme Court.
Addressing journalists after the Council of State meeting in Abuja on Thursday, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the council approved 159 out of 162 applications presented for consideration for the prerogative of mercy for convicts and inmates in correctional facilities nationwide.
According to Malami, the council rejected a proposal to grant pardon to one of the prisoners sentenced to 120 years for theft of over N25bn. The pardon, he said, was sought on health grounds.
Though the AGF kept mum over the identity of the prisoner in question, a top presidency source identified a former Managing Director of Platinum Habib Bank, Francis Atuche, as one of the people not fortunate to be pardoned.
The Council of State is an organ of the Federal Government responsible for advising the executive on policy matters.
Members include the President, past Presidents, the Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and both serving and past Chief Justices of Nigeria.
Others include the Attorney General of the Federation, all governors and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory.
In attendance were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.) and Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibarahim Gambari and governors.
Former heads of state physically in attendance were Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan.
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Armed robbers flee with $11 million in Ogun
A four-man armed robbery gang on Friday afternoon ‘successfully’ escaped with a whopping sum of $11 million at the Oke-Sokori of Abeokuta, in Abeokuta North local government area of Ogun State.
The four-man robbery gang, all clad in black T-shirts and jean trousers, wore black facemasks, and brandished riffles in an operation that lasted about 3 minutes.
The suspects, however, escaped the scene with their targeted money, stacked in two ‘Ghana-Must-Go’ bags, after demobilizing the car of their victim, a Hausa trader, who rode the area in a Toyota Venza salon car, marked, (ABUJA) ABC 565 GN.
An eyewitness, who was at the robbery scene, observed that the robbery suspects, who operated in a tinted Toyota Camry ‘Muscle’, had at around 4: 35p.m on Friday afternoon, intercepted their victim right in front of the FATGBEMS Petroleum Filling Station at Oke – Sokori, where they forcefully halted the victim’s Toyota Venza car and forced the car’s boot open.
After gaining entry into his car, the suspects thereafter offloaded the two bags containing the foreign currency into their car and also zoomed off with the victim’s car key before security operatives arrived.
Narrating his ordeal to the two police patrol teams that later arrived at the scene about 30 minutes after the robbery incident, the victim, said he was returning to his base after an unsuccessful banking attempt where he had gone to deposit the foreign currency.
In his narration, the Abeokuta-based Hausa trader told the police patrol team that he had earlier approached the Oke-Ilewo branch of a new generation bank for the purpose of depositing the money, but was turned back on the premise that the banking hours had lapsed.
But while returning to his base, the robbers struck and the trader fell victim.
Confirming the incident, the command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abimbola Oyeyemi, said operatives of the command were already on the trail of the criminals.
“It is quite unfortunate that the suspects had escaped the scene before our operatives arrived at the scene. But I want to assure you that we will definitely get them and bring them to justice.
“The command had immediately upon receipt of information about the incident, sent a signal across the state to ensure that the suspects are tracked down. All our technical units have been activated and for sure, we will get them”.
“I want to use this medium to assure the good people of Ogun State that they should not panic, saying that there is no course for alarm. They should remain calm, and go about their normal and routine businesses because our men will surely track down the suspects”.
NDLEA warns youths against drug abuse
The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.) has cautioned young Nigerians against the use of illicit drugs.
The NDLEA boss made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, while speaking on the topic: “Culture, drug abuse and the future of Nigerian youths” at the National Institute for Cultural Orientation’s 2023 Annual Public Lecture.
Marwa, who was represented at the event by Mrs. Anthonia Madubuike, praised NICO for its thoughtfulness in organising the annual lecture series.
Marwa noted that the event demonstrated NICO’s strong commitment and passion for eliminating the scourge of drug abuse and its consequences on society.
“This event is apt and timely because it creates awareness of the dangers inherent in drug abuse. It also sensitises members of the society on their roles in drug abuse prevention, treatment and care.
“Substance abuse has medical, social, economic and psychological consequences on user, family and on society at large,” the NDLEA boss said.
Marwa stated that young people who frequently use drugs are more likely to face problems such as academic difficulties, health-related issues, poor relationships with peers, and involvement with the juvenile justice system.
He also highlighted the negative consequences of drug abuse, such as violence, rape, suicide, paranoia, poor academic performance, dropping out of school, poor health, financial debt, and wasted resources.
He stressed that drug abusers are more likely to be involved in cultism, thuggery, kidnapping, terrorism, racketeering, and armed robbery.
Marwa highlighted the importance of empowering young people by providing them with high-quality education, skill acquisition opportunities, employment, access to healthcare, and social support systems.
“Addressing drug abuse requires a comprehensive approach that includes prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services that should be accessible, affordable and culturally sensitive.
“Drug abuse prevention efforts should focus on education and awareness about attendant risks and enhancement of protective factors such as family and community support,’’ he stated.
Marwa advised that school curricula should include drug abuse education to enlighten young people about the risks of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. He recommended that this education should be directed towards students, principals, teachers, counsellors, and school administrators.
He urged governments, civil society organisations, communities, religious leaders, professional bodies, and NGOs to work together and create a supportive environment to promote the positive development of Nigerian youths. He also advised parents to be involved in their children’s education, and pay attention to their activities, the company they keep, and their internet usage.
“Schools should also establish a tripartite communication between parents, schools and students.
“Leveraging technology and media to disseminate information, focusing on positive role models and inspiring narratives can help to shape cultural norms and attitudes towards drug abuse.
“Culture, drug abuse and the future of the Nigerian youth are interconnected.
“Recognising and respecting cultural values while addressing the challenges of drug abuse can provide Nigerian youths with opportunities to thrive and contribute positively to national development,’’ he stressed.
EFCC arraigns Lagos businesswoman Ramalan-Yaro, company for N140bn fraud
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday arraigned Saadatu Ramalan-Yaro, a businesswoman, for the second time in Lagos State, two weeks after her first arraignment.
The businesswoman was brought before Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court in Abuja on charges of money laundering amounting to over N140 billion. She is accused of not fulfilling her responsibilities as the director of Tsami Babi Resources Limited, a designated non-financial business, by not submitting the company’s activities.
The EFCC stated that Ramalan-Yaro deposited N100 billion into the company’s account with Zenith Bank without informing the Ministry of Commerce.
The act committed by the accused contravenes Sections 5(1) (a) and 16(1) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011 (as amended), and is punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
In the second charge, Ramallan-Yaro and M.A.Y. Fine Fragrance Limited, a designated non-financial institution, were accused of money laundering amounting to N40 billion. The accused pleaded not guilty, and the prosecution counsel requested a date for the commencement of the case.
The defense counsel, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), requested bail for the defendant, which was granted by Justice Egwuatu. The trial was adjourned until July 12 and 13, 2023.
The bail conditions required the defendant to deposit her international passport with the court and provide two sureties, one of whom must be a public servant and the other a relative, with a total bail amount of N100 million.
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