The pardon to Mr. Alamieyeseigha goes against any commitment to fighting corruption in Nigeria, they said.
A group of civil society organisations working on anti-corruption and good governance in Nigeria, said on Thursday that the presidential pardon granted to former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, is a negation of President Goodluck Jonathan’s acclaimed commitment to fighting corruption.
The group, in a statement signed on Thursday by Emma Ezeazu, Auwwal Musa Rafsanjani, Babatunde Ouluajo, Ezenwa Nwangwu, Jaiye Gaskiya, Y.Z Yau, and Tunde Aremu, said it is shocked that the president will exercise powers and grant pardon to Mr. Alamieyeseigha, a man renowned for his brazen corruption.
It also condemned what it described as the arrogant manner in which the president informed Nigerians about his decision to grant Mr. Alamieyeseigha amnesty.
“It is a naked dance in the public place, especially when weighed against the arrogant and contemptuous manner with which the Presidency has told Nigerians that it has no apology for the presidential pardon. We in the civil society are convinced that the focus of the whole presidential pardon of President Jonathan was Mr. Alamieyeseigha, except that it was only deceitfully window-dressed by adding a few other names,” the group said in its statement.
According to the group, President Jonathan exposed his affection for corruption when he granted a man who besides his corrupt deeds, brought the country to disrepute by skipping bail in the United Kingdom and absconding from the country’s officials while disguised as a woman.
It sad that while it “appreciates the constitutionality of prerogative of mercy as provided for in Section 175 of the 1999 Constitution as Amended, the decision by the Jonathan administration is immoral”.
It said the prerogative of mercy granted to Mr. Alamieyeseigha will encourage criminals as they will sense that they are likely to get away with such deeds based on the “fraudulently acquired political capital”.
The group described Mr. Jonathan’s act as a national embarrassment that will portray Nigeria, in the eyes of the international community, as a nation not genuinely committed to fighting corruption.
“Indeed, it has the potential to de-motivate Nigeria’s anti-corruption institutions – i.e. Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) – to effectively deliver on their mandate of fighting corruption,” it said.
The group made three demands of the president. It asked him to reverse the pardon granted Mr. Alamieyeseigha; apologise to Nigerians and the international community for its pro-corruption stance; and work assiduously to regain his already battered image.
It also asked the international community to join Nigerians to condemn the Jonathan administration on its lone path to destruction; and take some practical steps to demonstrate their anger towards the Nigerian government.
It also asked Nigerians to mobilise a national day of protest against barefaced corruption in order to take their destinies in their hands.