CSOs demand Buhari reverses pardon granted some corrupt convicts
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations, Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks has threatened to mobilised vote of no confidence against the president Muhammadu Buhari administration if it fail to reverse the pardon granted to some corrupt convicts including former governors of Plateau and Taraba States.
Solacebase had reported how President Muhammadu Buhari on the advice of Council of States pardoned 159 criminals including ex-Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau and ex-Governor Jolly Nyame of Taraba.
The two former governors were jailed for stealing billions of naira of public fund and their sentences upheld by the Supreme Court.
A statement endorsed by 19 CSOs and jointly signed by Ambassadors Ibrahim Waiya and Ibrahim Yusuf, Chairman and Secretary respectively , on Thursday and sent to Solacebase condemned in the strongest term the pardon of the duo.
The statement said the action is a disservice to the fight against corruption and would kill the morale of the anti-graft workers.
‘’We, the members of this great conference, and as anti- corruption ambassadors hereby condemn this action in totality and request His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to as matter of urgency reverse his decision on state pardon granted to some corruption convicts, in the interest of Nigerian citizens, ‘’the statement said.
‘’Failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse his action, the Conference shall be left with no option but to canvass for the support of other civil society organizations across the country and beyond to pass a vote of no confidence on the Federal Government.’’
‘’We wish to remind His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari that fighting against corruption was the leading pillar of his campaign promises and administration agenda, upon which many Nigerians believed and supported his presidential bid. It is however unfortunate that, since the inception of this administration in 2015 the actions and policies of the Government have always been against the efforts to support and strengthen the anti-graft institutions in Nigeria, such as EFCC, Judiciary and others, but are rather ridiculed and making caricature of their selfless services’’
WITHDRAW THE STATE PARDON OF THE CORRUPTION CONVICTS OR RISK LOSING PUBLIC TRUST
The Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks is a forum of states based civil society networks operating in the Nineteen Northern states of Nigeria. The establishment of the platform was conceived in 2017, and inaugurated on 28th March, 2021 as a regional network of non-governmental, non-partisan, not for profit, non-ethnic and non-religious platform, with the sole objective of advocating for the best practices of democracy, accountable governance and increased development of Northern Nigeria and beyond through policy influencing, cooperation and team work.
It has come to our notice that, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, has through the council of states pardoned two former state governors who were jailed for stealing public funds in 2018 and were yet to serve half the length of their jail terms in prison. This is rather unfortunate, shocking and at best, paradoxical coming from a man who rode to the corridor of power under the guise of anti- corruption. Corruption over the years in Nigeria had gradually succeeded in causing a loss of trust and a breakdown of social capital in governance. We all know that corruption is a threat to development, democracy and stability. It distorts markets, curbs economic growth and discourages foreign investments. It also erodes public services and trust in government officials.
In recent time, the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria, most especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-ignited the hopes of Nigerians through its diligent prosecution of high profiled corruption cases, where the current chairman had to stand in the witness box for several hours to ensure that, corrupt individuals are brought to book. AbdulRasheed Bawa recovered over ten billion naira, several properties and secured 185 convictions across EFCC zonal offices in just 100 days in office. He also launched an application called “Eagle Eye” to ease the reporting of corruption related cases across the country, to ensure that swift responses and interventions are provided through a dedicated team of the commission
Statistics have it that the lack of job opportunities is at the core of the high poverty levels, regional inequality, social and political unrest in Nigeria. High inflation has also taken a toll on household’s welfare and high prices of essential commodities. The Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics said in 2020 that 40% or 83 million Nigerians live in abject poverty. Although Nigeria’s poverty profile for 2021 has not yet been released, it is estimated that the number of poor people will increase to 90 million, or 45% of the population, in 2022. One would have thought that the current administration will pre-occupy itself in solving the pressing economic woos of the nation, rather than demoralizing the anti- corruption agencies effort and dampening their resolve to contain the cancer of corruption in the country
We wish to remind His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari that fighting against corruption was the leading pillar of his campaign promises and administration agenda, upon which many Nigerians believed and supported his presidential bid. It is however unfortunate that, since the inception of this administration in 2015 the actions and policies of the Government have always been against the efforts to support and strengthen the anti-graft institutions in Nigeria, such as EFCC, Judiciary and others, but are rather ridiculed and making caricature of their selfless services. We are aware of the level at which corruption has succeeded in undermining the operations of many institutions and processes, and giving rise to anti-public policies. Consequently, if such practices are allowed to thrive continuously, corruption would damage, in entirety, the legitimacy of this regime and shall surely lead to a total loss of public sympathy and trust in the system. Similarly, the Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks wishes to remind His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari one of his favorite statements “If we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us”. The current action to grant a state pardon to some corruption convicts, is surely a disservice to the nation and a breach of social contract between the President and the Nigerian citizens on whose mandate, the President acts.
We, the members of this great conference, and as anti- corruption ambassadors hereby condemn this action in totality and request His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to as matter of urgency reverse his decision on state pardon granted to some corruption convicts, in the interest of Nigerian citizens. Failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse his action, the Conference shall be left with no option but to canvass for the support of other civil society organizations across the country and beyond to pass a vote of no confidence on Federal Government, and this measure we believe may lead to a total loss of public trust, and by implications the Government may lose its integrity and support of the Nigerian citizens.
- Amb. Peter M. Egwudah – Chairman, Network of Adamawa Non – Governmental Organizations (NANGO), Adamawa State
- Comrade Bulama Abiso – Executive Director, Network of Civil Society Organizations Borno. Borno State
- Mrs. Shimenenge Kyaagba, Coordinator, Benue Network of NGOs (BENGONET), Benue State
- Jinjiri J. Garba – Executive Director/State Chairman, Bauchi State Network of Civil Society Organizations (BASNEC)
- Amb. Ibrahim Yusuf – Chairman, Association of NGOs, Gombe State
- Amb. Muhammad Musbahu Basrika – Chairman, Network of Civil Society organizations, Jigawa State
- Emmanuel Bonet – Chairman, Concerned civil society, Kaduna State
- Amb. Ibrahim A. Waiya – President, Kano Civil Society Forum, Kano State
- Amb. Abdulrahman Abdullahi – Chairman, Coalition of Civil Society organizations, Katsina State
- Amb. Hon. Usman Buhari Ali – Chairman, Coalition of NGOs in Kebbi State State (CONKS)
- Amb. Idris Ozovehe Muraina – Chairperson, Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), Kogi State
- Ade Bodunde – Chairman, Kwara State Coalition of NGOs, Kwara State
- Mr. Solomon Yakubu Enjola – Chairman, Nassarawa NGO Network (NANGONET), Nassarawa State
- Habila Muhammad Kudu – Coordinator, NGOs Forum Niger State
- Gad Peter – Chairman, Coalition of NGOs Plateau State
- Amb. Ibrahim Abdullahi Shuni – Chairman, Coalition of NGOs in Sokoto State
- Joseph Gimba PhD – Chairman, Coalition for civil society organizations in Taraba State (COCS OTS)
- Alh. Baba Shehu, Executive Director/Chairman, Network of Yobe Civil Society Organizations
- Amb. Ibrahim Tudu – Chairman, Zamfara Coalition of NGOs (ZASCONS), Zamfara State
Amb. Ibrahim A. Waiya Amb. Ibrahim Yusuf
Chairman Secretary General