The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has come hard on a former governor of Plateau state, Joshua Dariye for pleading for leniency at an FCT High Court, after caring less whether “his own people lived or died, since the hospitals were left without drugs, the schools without basic textbooks and teachers were owed years of salary arrears, all due to looting of public funds”.
Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Gudu, Abuja, had found Dariye, a serving senator, guilty of misappropriating N1.16 billion Ecological Fund meant for the state. But before handing down her ruling, counsel to Dariye, Paul Eroko, pleaded for a light sentence, saying, “Appeals to your judgement do not succeed, we will fall on your mercy. The prisons are congested.
“They misled the governor, it is the bank, they said he didn’t have to present anything.”
Reacting in a statement sent to DAILY POST on Wednesday by its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, CACOL wondered how Dariye could plead for mercy on the ground that the prison where he was kept was over congested, even when the maintenance and upkeep of same prison fell under his purview while he was in power.
This was as the civil society organisation applauded the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over Tuesday’s conviction of Dariye to 14 years imprisonment, describing the development as a strong signal to corrupt public officials that it would no longer be business as usual as far as corruption cases are concerned in Nigeria.
The statement read, “As the trial judge Justice Adebukola Banjoko noted, Dariye who is a serving Senator committed the crime in a brazen manner. It is equally outrageous that the convict transferred about half a billion naira from the state’s Ecological Fund into a personal venture account. The judge also observed that Dariye was even richer than his state.
“The remark of Justice Adebukola Banjoko succinctly describes the deleterious effects of the brazen acts of Corruption and Joshua Dariye’s lack of empathy for same people he was supposed to lead.”
Adeniran continued that, “All this recklessness and impunity is the reason why many have called for our leaders to be mentally examined before they are allowed to aspire for leadership positions. It is therefore necessary to re-emphasize that the current fight against corruption of this administration should be fully supported by all reasonable Nigerians to give the country its required reprieve from the malaise.”