Fomer governors Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame of Plateau and Taraba states.

In the Council of State he presided over on Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari granted pardon to two former governors jailed for various frauds they committed while in office between 1999 to 2007.

Joshua Dariye, former governor of Plateau state, and Jolly Nyame, former governor of Taraba state were pardoned on health and age grounds.

The duo are among the 159 prisoners freed including former military general and minister under the Sani Abacha regime, Tajudeen Olanrewaju, an army lieutenant colonel, Akiyode, who was an aide of former deputy to General Abacha, Oladipo Diya; and all the junior officers jailed over the 1990 abortive Gideon Orkar coup.

The full list of those pardoned is not immediately available.

Mr Nyame, 66, governor of Taraba State from 1999 to 2007, was serving a 12-year jail term at the Kuje prison for misappropriation of funds while he was in office. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction in February 2020.

Mr Dariye, 64, who governed Plateau between 1999 and 2007, was jailed for stealing N2 billion of public funds during his time as Plateau State governor between 1999 and 2007.

The Council of State is an organ saddled with the responsibility of advising the executive arm of government on major policy decisions but has no constitutional powers to impose or override the presidential decisions.

Members of the council include the president, vice president, former presidents, Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, past and serving.

Others are the Attorney General of the Federation, all state governors and the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo shunned yesterday’s meeting, taking a cue from Mr Buhari who did not attend similar meetings during the days of his predecessors despite being a former head of state from his 1980s junta.