Meanwhile, a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has said the pardon granted Alamieyeseigha and ex-Managing Director of Bank of the North, Alhaji Mohammed Bulama, is capable of stopping the war against corruption.
Ribadu, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, said the pardon was very discouraging.
He said, “I believe that corruption still remains the biggest problem confronting Nigeria. We should not do anything that will take us back. The action by government is capable of stopping the entire war against corruption.”
The former EFCC chairman recalled that Alamieyeseigha and Bulama’s corruption cases were investigated and prosecuted when he was the EFCC chairman.
He added, “These (Alamieyeseigha and Bulama) are two corruption cases that I personally investigated, prosecuted and got the convictions. They were the first convictions we got in this country for corruption, not in the military tribunals, but by regular courts.”
Ribadu said that by its action, the government had granted amnesty to people who were convicted of corruption.
“For them to have been pardoned, it like now more or less giving them amnesty. It is a sad development. It is very unfortunate. It is capable of affecting, negatively, the fight against corruption in our country.”
The former EFCC chairman said that the action would embolden those who are corrupt.
He said, “It (government action) is sending a message that if you are found to be corrupt ultimately nothing will ever happen to you. You will be clean. You will be pardoned. It will embolden those who are corrupt.
“There are people who have been convicted; I do not know whether they will be pardoned or not. I do not know what will happen to those who are being prosecuted today.”
Ribadu also said that the pardon granted Alamieyeseigha and Bulama would send a negative message to the judiciary and law enforcement agencies.
“ The message that is sent to the courts and the law enforcement agencies is a very negative one. It is a very discouraging act. Like most Nigerians, I am very disappointed by this development.”
He stated that Alamieyeseigha still had cases in the United Kingdom, adding the pardon would not affect the cases.
“He still has cases there. I do not think this pardon will be extended to the UK,” Ribadu explained.
Expressing his disappointment, he recalled that a former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, whose case was treated shabbily in Nigeria had been convicted in the UK.
Ribadu also took a swipe at a presidential aide, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who justitified the pardon granted the former Bayelsa State governor.
Faulting Okupe, Ribadu said such comments were not only unfortunate, but unfair to Nigerians, who had suffered and are still suffering because of corruption.
“There are more 150 million Nigerians who are suffering because of the terrible effect of corruption. Saying he (Alamieyeseigha ) has suffered enough is very unfortunate,” he said.