Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Council of State (NCS) for granting state pardon to former Governors of Taraba and Plateau States, Rev. Jolly Nyame and Senator Joshua Dariye respectively.
Both former Governors were serving terms at the Kuje Correctional Centre, in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Abuja over financial malfeasance while in office between 1999 and 2007.
Nyame, 66, was Taraba State Governor from January 1992 until the military coup of November 1993 that brought in the now Late General Sani Abacha. He returned in the same capacity in May 1999 and ruled for two terms until 2007.
He was first charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2007 in a 41-count charge of fraud of N1.64 billion. He admitted to misappropriating N180 million out of N250 million meant for stationaries and offered to return the same.
Nyame was convicted by the High Court of the FCT on 30th May 2018, and sentenced to 14 years in prison. He was asked to refund the monies in diverted.
The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal’s 12-year jail term judgment on 7th February 2020, and set aside the fines imposed on him by the courts on the grounds that they were outrageous and done without any prompting.
Sixty-four-year-old Dariye governed Plateau State at the onset of the Fourth Republic in 1999 and exited in May 2007 after serving the constitutionally allowed two terms of four years each.
He won the Plateau Central senatorial election in 2011 and 2015. He completed his second tenure in the Upper Legislative Chamber in June 2019 despite been sentenced a year early by the High Court of the FCT, Gudu, Abuja to imprisonment of 14 years on the charges of criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds (N1.6 billion) while he was Plateau State Governor.
From Kuje prisons in Abuja, he contested and won the Senatorial election for Plateau Central under the banner of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general elections.
His sentence was appealed and the Supreme Court reduced his sentence to 10 years.
A statement in Makurdi on Friday by Governor Ortom’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Nathaniel Ikyur recalled that ‘Ortom, while fielding questions on a national television programme a fortnight ago, appealed to the Federal Government to review the cases of Dariye and Nyame with a view to granting them state pardon.’
Ortom said some useful lessons must have been learnt from the incarceration of the duo for abuse of office.
The Governor also thanked friends, families and political associates of Nyame and Dariye who stood by them during their incarceration.
The NCS granted state pardon to 157 others at his meeting presided over by President Buhari on Thursday.
Among them were former Minister in the Abacha regime, General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, and all junior officers jailed over the 1990 abortive Gideon Orkar military coup.