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Jonathan should pardon other criminals, says lawyer

By Emeka Ekeanyanwu/Lagos


As reactions continue to trail the state pardon granted the former governor of Balyesa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a Port Harcourt-based legal practitioner, Akintoye Gbogboade, has joined others to condemn the gesture, describing it as negative and ridiculous, claiming that it would further encourage corrupt practices in the country.

Gbogboade, who spoke in a telephone interview, said if the former governor, who served jail term for embezzlement, could be given a state pardon, other criminals, who are under locks and chains should be set free.

“It is sad that a former chief executive of a state, who mortgaged the welfare of his people should be honoured with a state pardon; this pardon is in fact a ghastly one that has injured the moral stability of the nation. It, therefore, implies that others like Tafa Balogun, Cecilia Ibru and Farouk Lawan should also benefit from the gesture that has made a mockery of our democracy among the comity of nations,” he said.

He said further that if the United States has threatened to sanction Nigeria because of the pardon.

“In a country where all social infrastructure like health-care, power generation, education and accommodation among others are down, some individuals are still allowed to walk freely around after misappropriating public money that is big enough to alleviate these problems. If the kinsmen of Jonathan are accusing him of toying with Nigeria’s future by this shameful state pardon; the committee and its composition should, therefore, be regarded as comical in nature.

“I am, therefore, suggesting that the President should pardon all that are presently facing corruption charges so that those whose pension and benefits have gone down the drain could celebrate Goodluck Jonathan and ask him to go for a second term,’’ he stressed.

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