The U.S condemned the action of the Nigerian government.
The United States has condemned the pardon granted some ex-convicts by President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Council of States.
In a tweet by the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, the U.S. said, “We see this as a setback in the fight against corruption.”
It said further on its twitter handle @USEmbassyAbuja that “the #USG (United States Government) is deeply disappointed over the recent pardons of corrupt officials by GON (Government of Nigeria).”
President Jonathan and the Council granted ex- Bayelsa Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and ex-boss of the defunct Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama pardon in a move condemned by civil society and other interest groups.
Both men had been convicted for corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Mr. Alamieyeseigha, who chose Mr. Jonathan as his running mate for the Bayelsa Governorship election in 1999, pleaded guilty to financial misappropriation and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Some members of the Council of States had told PREMIUM TIMES that it was clear from the president’s mien and actions at the meeting that the pardon was targeted at Mr. Alamieyeseigha with the others only used as smokescreen.
The ex-Bayelsa Governor’s name was the first on the list of the pardon beneficiaries read by the president to attendees at the meeting including three former Nigerian heads of state.
Nigerians have, however, reacted differently to the U.S. reaction. While some say the U.S. has by its actions showed that it would not support the seemingly pro-corruption action of the government, others accused the American government of meddling in Nigerian affairs especially when its former presidents also pardoned similar ex-convicts.
“Who condemned USA when they pardoned Oliver North and the then president over Iran contra,” a commentator by the name Ben Growp posted on PREMIUM TIMES website.
“Various American presidents have pardoned individuals, the most controversial being Marc Rich, whose wife Denise is a contributor to the Democratic Party. Clinton’s actions were done a few hours to leaving office in January of 2001,” another commentator by the username Lanre posted.
Others like Odusanya Seye commended the U.S. statement.
“As a patriotic citizen of Nigeria, i find this retarded move to pardon a convict shameful for a country whose inhabitant cry for justice,” he said.
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