Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus


DSP Alamieyeseigha
By SaharaReporters, New York

A coalition of youth civil society organizations has joined the condemnation of the pardon granted a number of Nigerians last week by President Goodluck Jonathan.

In a press statement on Friday, the group said that while the pardon was constitutional, the power to do so in this instance was reckless and contrary to the spirit of the constitution.

“The youth join voices with millions of Nigeria in condemning the presidential pardon granted especially to a former public officer; Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who was convicted for economic and financial crime while serving as the Governor of Bayelsa State, Alhaji Shettima Bulama and ex Major Bello Magaji,” the statement said.   “In light of the Government’s presupposed commitment to anti-corruption fight this grant of pardon is unacceptable, insensitive and dishonorable. The timing of the pardon has weakened the anti-corruption crusade of the government, making a mockery of efforts to curb economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.”

The youths noted that the beauty of law is that it is made for man, but wondered where the people choose when honor and the law no longer stand on the same line.

The group regretted that despite the government’s claim to be fighting corruption, there is no evidence of that in terms of a reasonable number of offenders being prosecuted and convicted, adding that the little hope in the system has now been eroded with the pardon of an offender whose conviction was seen as a consolation to many Nigerians whose lives have been turned to hell as a result of outright stealing in high places.

They noted the gradual death of the middle class in Nigeria as the lower class becomes more accommodating to the poor majority, describing the nation as a country where Nigerians live like beggars by a palace struggling for the fallen crumbs of food.

“We make a mockery of the whole concept of democracy if citizens invariably view the government as the mighty oppressor wielding state power to suppress the people,” they said, calling for an amended constitution that would truly promote good government and welfare of all persons in our country on the principles of Freedom, Equality and Justice and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of the people.

And stressing that the nation’s laws are not infallible, the youths demanded an amendment of Section 175 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution to include a proviso excluding the power to grant pardon on persons indicted or convicted of economic and financial crime while acting in an official capacity.

They also called for an amendment to section 175 (2) of the 1999 Constitution to include the following paragraphs:
a)      The president shall in consultation with the Council of State forward the list of persons who have applied for pardon to the National Judicial Council and National Assembly for confirmation and approval;
b)      The National Judicial Council shall among other things determine if the applicant has become remorseful and of good conduct; and
c)      Powers of the President to grant pardon shall be exercised on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council and confirmation by the National Assembly.

Full text of the statement:

PRESS STATEMENT
DELIVERED BY A COALITION OF YOUTH CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS AT A YOUTH PRESS CONFERENCE ON CORRUPTION HELD ON
FRIDAY 22ND MARCH 2013

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press
Transparency and accountability are the cornerstones of good governance in any society and indispensible in a democracy. Democratic governance abhors a governing structure that either isolates the views and demands of the people or that restricts the participation of the people. The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria therefore places the people as the foundation of sovereignty where the government derives all its power and authority. The Constitution further provides that the welfare and security of the people is the primary purpose of the government. (Section 14(2) (a) (b) respectively).

The recent announcement of a presidential pardon granted to the former governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State, the former Managing Direcetor of Bank of the North, Alhaji Shettima Bulama, Maj. Gen Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua; former Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya; former Minister of Works, Late Maj. Gen. Abdulkareem Adisa; ex-major Bello Magaji and Alhaji Mohammed Lima Biyu has raised a lot of controversy especially with the inclusion of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Alhaji Shettima Bulama. The exercise of the power of pardon by the President is stricto senso constitutional under section 175 of the 1999 Constitution as amended but in this instance can be said be exercised recklessly and contrary to the spirit of the constitution.

The youth join voices with millions of Nigeria in condemning the presidential pardon granted especially to a former public officer; Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who was convicted for economic and financial crime while serving as the Governor of Bayelsa State, Alhaji Shettima Bulama and ex Major Bello Magaji . In light of the Government’s presupposed commitment to anti-corruption fight this grant of pardon is unacceptable, insensitive and dishonorable. The timing of the pardon has weakened the anti-corruption crusade of the government, making a mockery of efforts to curb economic and financial crimes inNigeria.

The beauty of law is that law is made for man but when honor and the law no longer stand on the same line, where do the people choose?
In spite of the government’s claim to be fighting corruption, Nigerians are yet to pick out a reasonable number of offenders prosecuted and convicted. While we try to nurse our wounds from this glaring sore, the little hope in the system is eroded with the pardon of an offender whose conviction was seen as a consolation to many Nigerians whose lives have been turned to hell as a result of outright stealing in high places. 2012 was a year of revelation of the various levels of corruption, fuel subsidy scams, and economic crimes that have constantly sucked deep into the very soul of the people who painfully live in abject poverty with nothing done so salvage the situation. Although series of financial scams have been exposed in recent times, the slow pace of investigation and prosecution indicate the inability of authorities to deal with corruption. Indeed there are indications that the Nigerian Judicial System could be more porous and lenient towards offenders especially in corruption related cases.

Furthermore, we live in a country where; there is a gradual death of the middle class as the lower class becomes more accommodating to the poor majority; a country where Nigerians live like beggars by a palace struggling for the fallen crumbs of food. We make a mockery of the whole concept of democracy if citizens invariably view the government as the mighty oppressor wielding state power to suppress the people. Therefore, while the Constitution undergoes review, we the people of Nigeria seek for “a constitution that truly promotes good government and welfare of all persons in our country on the principles of Freedom, Equality and Justice and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of the people”.

Considering that our laws are not infallible we therefore demand the following:
·        An amendment of Section 175 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution as amended to include a proviso excluding the power to grant pardon on persons indicted or convicted of economic and financial crime while acting in an official capacity.

·        An amendment to section 175 (2) of the 1999 Constitution to include the following paragraphs:
a)      The president shall in consultation with the Council of State forward the list of persons who have applied for pardon to the National Judicial Council and National Assembly for confirmation and approval.

b)      The National Judicial Council shall among other things determine if the applicant has become remorseful and of good conduct.

c)      Powers of the President to grant pardon shall be exercised on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council and confirmation by the National Assembly.

The Federal Government should reassure Nigerians of its commitment provided under Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) “to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power” by truly taking actions that reflects this commitment.

It should be noted, that this is not a battle against an individual, but a rejuvenation of the voices of Nigerian youth as we perform our highest obligation as patriots to fight corruption in all entirety and reclaim our fatherland. While we are not ignorant of the powers of the President to grant pardon; we are concerned that the pardon recently granted to Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is an indirect endorsement of the looting of the public treasury by public officials. We call for restrain in the granting of state pardon in order to prevent corruption with impunity and also to avoid sending the wrong signals to current office holders.

For the future, we urge the President to direct his powers of granting pardon instead to persons who are convicted in questionable circumstances and also to young ex-convicts who have clearly demonstrated their ability to lead crime free lives and also have the potential to contribute meaningfully to the development of Nigeria.

We call on all anti-corruption agencies and all well-meaning Nigerians, especially the youths not to relent in their advocacy against impunity and endemic corruption. In spite of the recent pardon, the fight against corruption in Nigeria can still be won if we remain committed.

We urge youths all over the country to keep watch over use of resources in their communities; to name and shame corrupt public officials and to utilise social media to mobilize and demand public accountability and transparency. In our commitment to the fight against corruption we will join forces with other civil society organizations to mobilize Nigerians through civil and peaceful public demonstrations to condemn corrupt practices and entrenched impunity in the country.

We also call on the international community not to relent in supporting the fight against corruption in Nigeria. We demand the imposition of visa ban on corrupt public officials who have siphoned the commonwealth of our country. We also request the international community especially countries like America, Britain, Switzerland, Russia, France and the middle-east, to withdraw the children of corrupt public officials currently schooling abroad and deport them back to Nigeria.

The fight against corruption and impunity must not end!

Thank you

Signed

Barr. Cynthia Mbamalu                                                            Bukhari Mohammed Bello Jega

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: