The Executive Director of the Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), an anti-corruption group, Olanrewaju Suraju, has described as wickedness, the judgement by the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja, ordering the Taraba State Government to pay ex-convict and former governor of the state, Jolly Nyame, his pension arrears.

Suraju said this while condemning the court judgment in a press statement on Friday.

“This administration needs to make themselves clear to the people. How can you be fighting corruption yet you are aiding more corruption by your actions? First, the Presidential pardon was unpardonable. Now the court is ordering the state to pay arrears to Nyame. This is wickedness. The same person who was convicted for stealing the state blind,” Suraju said. 

The statement further stated that the court’s judgment had attracted outrage from several Nigerians groups and civil societies in addition to the “unpardonable pardon” granted to Nyame alongside other judgment creditors in the suits by the president.

The statement read, “Mr. Nyame and three other judgment creditors – Uba Ahmadu, Abubakar Armayau and Bilkisu Danboyi – had filed a ‘garnishee proceeding’, which is a judicial process of enforcement of a monetary judgment by confiscation of assets belonging to the judgment debtor.

“Recall that Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari had in April granted a state pardon to Joshua Dariye (erstwhile governor of Plateau state) and Jolly Nyame who were indicted and jailed for corruption.

“Dariye and Nyame were imprisoned for stealing public funds to the tune of N1.16 billion and N1.6billion respectively.

“Nyame and Dariye were governors of their respective states from 1999 to 2007. 

“Mr Nyame, who was governor of Taraba State from 1999 to 2007, was jailed for 14 years for fraud in May 2018 by an Abuja High Court.”

According to Suraju, such actions from the court are capable of engendering more corrupt practices and other malfeasances.

“These are the kind of court decisions that breed more corrupt practices with impunity. As far as fighting corruption is concerned the judiciary is yet to live above board. Should we believe Ayi kwei Armah who says “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born?”

Suraju called on other civil society organisations to rise and condemn indefensible acts, decisions and policies of this nature.

He also charged the judiciary to be sensitive to citizen’s interest and not to politicians and ruling elites, saying “I'm afraid if Nigerians would ever trust the judiciary if they are not sensitive to citizen’s interest, nor believe in their political leaders, looking at what is happening.”

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