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Council of State grants presidential pardon for VIP ex-convicts

By The Citizen
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There were indications on Tuesday that the National Council of State presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan has approved a presidential pardon for a former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Dipreye Alamieyeisegha and many others.

THE CITIZEN was reliably informed that other beneficiaries of the Council of State's are a former Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, the late Maj-Gen. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua and some military officers implicated in the 1995 and 1997 coups against the late Military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

Also on the pardon list are a former Chief of General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya, a former Minister of Communications, Maj.-Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju, a former Minister of Works, the late Gen. Abdulkareem Adisa, a former Managing Director of the defunct Bank of the North, Alhaji Shettima Bulama and Dr. Chiichii Ashwe.

But the Federal Government did not release the list of beneficiaries last night - apparently because of the backlash, which the pardon of some of the beneficiaries may cause for the administration of President Jonathan, a source said.

Dr. Jonathan made the recommendation for pardon the first item on the agenda at the Council of State meeting, it was learnt.

After the meeting, State House correspondents were not briefed on its outcome but sources at the meeting confirmed that the story.

'Yes. It is true that presidential pardon was approved for the former governor at the meeting,' one of the state governors at the meeting, who pleaded anonymity, said.

But his position contradicted the position of his colleague from Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, who claimed that no former governor's name was mentioned at the meeting.

He however confirmed that the issue of 'state pardon' was discussed.

Nyako, who spoke with some journalists in Hausa, said the Council deliberated on the possibility of granting state clemency to certain category of offenders both at state and federal levels.

'No such issue (pardon for errant governors) was discussed. I didn't see the name of any governor. But we considered the issue of state pardon for people who committed certain offences.

'We observed that in cases of manslaughter, pardon for such should be handled by state governors if they are committed in such states. But if it is the case of armed robbery, the Council may decide to grant pardon or the matter could be referred to the President for his consideration,' Nyako said.