Following unconditional pardon president Jonathan granted former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and erstwhile Managing Director of Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, has called on the Nigerian Senate to “commence impeachment proceedings for gross abuse of executive authority and total disregard for the feelings of the Nigerian people.”
CPC, in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin said this is the firm time in recent time whereby persons convicted on corruption charges were granted amnesty.
According to the CPC, the President’s decision was an embarrassment to the country, adding that the impeachment process should be based on gross abuse of executive authority and total disregard for the feelings of Nigerians.
Below is the full text of CPC statement below:
Jonathan’s Pardon For Criminality
“On Tuesday, 9th March, 2013, the Council of States, an advisory body to the President in Nigeria’s infrastructure on Political governance, was reported to have assented to Presidential Pardon for Mr Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (former Governor of Bayelsa State), Shettima Bulama (former head, Bank of the North), Lt Gen Oladipo Diya (former Chief of General Staff), Major-General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Major-General AbdulKareem Adisa, Major Bello Magaji, Mohammed Lima Biu, Major Seun Fadipe.
“The decision was hinged on the Provisions of Section 175 (1-3) of the Nigerian Constitution. Indeed, subsection 3 expressly states that: The President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of state, may exercise his powers under subsection (1) of this section in relation to persons concerned with offences against the army, naval or air-force law or convicted or sentenced by a court-martial.
“Understandably, there was palpable feeling of outrage among Nigerians (at home and the Diaspora) on the amnesty granted to Mr Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Shettima Bulama. The reason for this was that, these two Nigerians were convicted for obscene corruptive tendencies and nauseous rapacity. Whilst Shettima Bulama was apprehended for embezzling the funds of his employers, Bank of the North; Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (as Governor of Bayelsa) was arrested in UK for laundered $3.2million in cash and Bank accounts.
“He subsequently jumped bail and returned to Nigeria before being impeached by 17 out of the 24-member Bayelsan state assembly. The arraignment before a Federal High Court found him guilty and was sentenced accordingly. What is galling in the entire saga was the sheer impunity exhibited by the obsequious apologists of this corruption-prone Presidency of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Dr Doyin Okupe, the garrulous and overly cocky special Assistant to the President on Public affairs, told a bewildered Nation (on behalf of his Boss), “I owe nobody any apology.”
“The hubris of that assertion is seen in the inebriation with power that is often linked with holders of executive authority in Nigeria. The Nigerian state, as a State Party, is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption enacted through the General Assembly resolution: 58/4 of 31 October 2003. As reasons for this legal instrument, the UN Secretary –General stated inter-alia that: “Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. This evil phenomenon is found in all countries—big and small, rich and poor—but it is in the developing world that its effects are most destructive.
“Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a Government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging foreign aid and investment. Corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development.”
“The Power of Prerogative of Mercy granted to Presidents in various jurisdictions, though discretional, is expected to be exercised with perspicacity and utmost circumspection. From President Gerrard Ford’s amnesty to the impeached Mr. Richard Nixon (of the Watergate scandal fame) to President Shehu Shagari’s pardon extended to General Yakubu Gowon and Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu; Prerogative of mercy have always been used to rehabilitate individuals convicted of political transgressions after unmistakable show of penitence.
“From any recollection of contemporary history on Prerogative of mercy, this is the first time that convicted felons- individuals that have destroyed the moral fabric of society through unbridled grand larceny- would be granted presidential pardon! President Goodluck Jonathan, known for devious schemes, had tried to conflate political transgressions and criminal infractions in the lame attempt at hoodwinking a Nation with this obviously nauseating Pardon to his former political benefactor. Though the ostensible and much-trumpeted reason is for national cohesion, we have on good authority that the main reason is a self-serving agenda by the Jonathan regime ahead of the 2015 election. Under the Nigerian extant law- which prescribes a 10-year disqualification for any ex-convict- Chief Alamieyeseigha is ineligible for any electoral contest in 2015 since his conviction was done in 2006. As a Party, we are aware of the burden of responsibility on us to lend our voice to the vociferous condemnation of this ‘pardon for brazen criminality’ by the Jonathan administration.
“The wider implications of the infra-dig by this regime concerning the issue are very worrisome. Section 175 (1d) of the Nigerian Constitution which deals with amnesty states: ‘remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the State on account of such an offence. ‘Does this imply that, by this amnesty, the assets unjustly accumulated by Chief Alamieyeseigha and forfeited to the Nigerian state shall be remitted to him in part or whole?
“Would this not send wrong signals to the International community that Nigeria is a big enclave of institutionalized corruption? .Would this not discourage potential investors and extirpate the implementation of the much-touted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)? .By this action, is the Jonathan regime not festering the cankerworm of corruption and implicitly encouraging the succeeding generation on imbibing that culture? “Would this action not be antithetical to the spirit and letter of the UN charter against Corruption to which Nigeria is a signatory to?
“Without any scintilla of doubt, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, as President, has ceased from serving the collective interest of the Nigerian people and the Nation state. He seems more pre-occupied with political maneuvers- that are deleterious to the corporate existence of the Nation state- than ensuring good governance through enunciation of policies that do not offend the ethno-religious balance of the polity. It is therefore our considered view- in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) – that the Nigerian Senate should mitigate this national embarrassment from the President’s action by suing for rescission of this amnesty order on Mr Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Mr Shettima Bulama; or in the event of refusal, to commence impeachment proceedings for gross abuse of executive authority and total disregard for the feelings of the Nigerian people.