Former governors of Plateau and Taraba states, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame respectively, have been released from Kuje Prison where they were serving various jail terms for sundry offences during their as governors.
Three others whose identities could not be immediately ascertained were also released from Suleja Prison in Niger state.
The Council of State, led by the President Muhammadu Buhari had on April 14 approved the pardon of 159 convicts including Dariye and Nyame, who were separately convicted for stealing N1.16bn and N1.6bn respectively.
Both men 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 N1.162billion and was sentenced to 14 years in prison by Justice Banjoko, who has since been elevated to the Court of Appeal.
However, his prison term was later reduced to 10 years by the appellate court in Abuja while his conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court.
On his part, Nyame who was governor of Taraba State from 1999 to 2007 was sentenced to 12 years in prison for stealing N1.6billion. The case went up to the apex court which affirmed his conviction.
But confirming their release Monday in Abuja through a statement, FCT Command Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Correctional Service, Chukwuedo Humphrey, said “the release is sequel to the receipt of the letter of clemency from the presidential prerogative of mercy committee by the Controller General of Corrections Haliru Nababa mni.
“The controller of Corrections FCT Command Ahmed Musa Ahmed acting upon the directives of the Controller General also released three other inmates who were granted pardon from the Suleja custodial centre.
“The pardon which was granted earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari was done based on recommendations from the presidential prerogative of mercy committee who have interviewed all inmates based on deteriorating health status, age as well as good behaviour and industry during the period of serving their sentences.”
Probing further on why their release was delayed, Humphrey told our correspondent on the telephone that the Service could not just release them based on verbal pronouncements.
“There was a process of documentation when they came. We received certain written instructions to that effect. So, we could not just release them without also receiving written instructions to the effect. It is a procedure”, he stated.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) had in April told journalists that the council approved 159 out of 162 applications presented for consideration for the prerogative of mercy for convicts and inmates in prisons.
He, however, added that the council rejected a proposal to grant pardon to one of the prisoners sentenced to 120 years for theft of over N25 billion, even though the pardon was sought on health grounds.