The Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) has said three former governors currently serving jail terms will not benefit from the presidential pardon recently granted to inmates by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Buhari had pardoned 2,600 prisoners as one of the measures to prevent the entry and spread of Coronavirus disease in custodial centres nationwide.
Announcing the amnesty through the presidential taskforce on COVID-19, the president said those considered for pardon include inmates who are 60 years and above; those suffering from ill health likely to end in death; serving at least three years with less than six months left; with mental issues and those with options of fine not exceeding N50,000.
Thereafter online reports claimed former governor of Abia, Senator Orji Kalu; former governor of Plateau, Joshua Dariye and former governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame are prominent persons penciled down as beneficiaries on account of their age.
While Kalu was sentenced to 12 years for 7bn fraud last year, Dariye and Nyame were sentenced to 10 and 14 years for N1bn fraud respectively in 2018.
But the spokesman of the NCS, Chuks Njoku, in a report by Punch Newspapers on Saturday, said the former governors were not qualified to benefit from the presidential amnesty.
Mr Njoku, who said age alone was not the only qualification, noted that the former governors were convicted of corruption and related offences and by virtue of that they are not eligible as beneficiaries.
“We have our criteria and they are not qualified (for pardon). They don’t fall under any of the categories. If you were convicted, you must have served some years and you must be of good character and must have shown remorse,” the NCS spokesman said.
“It is not just about age; there are many of them who are old but they are not qualified. So, for anyone to benefit, they must have served for some time and their crime must not be a capital offence. They (ex-governors) are not qualified because they just came (into the custodial centre) and some of them are still on appeal,” Njoku added.