The Executive Secretary of the National Summit Group (NSG), Mr Tony Uranta, has condemned the widespread criticism that has greeted the pardon granted to the convicted former Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, saying the man has admitted the crime he committed and has served his time for his conviction.
Speaking on our breakfast television programme, Sunrise Daily Mr Uranta, stated that the former governor who has remained a prominent Ijaw leader, played a prominent role in the prevailing amnesty that has restored peace to the Niger Delta and therefore deserves the pardon.
“Alamieyeseigha contributed enormously to the on-going amnesty in the Niger Delta and every Nigerian is currently benefitting from because via the increased crude oil production that has doubled after the amnesty”, he said.
“He played a great role in helping to keep peace in the country and he done his time in prison”, he added.
The Presidential ally also drew the ethnic sentiment when he asked that “should Alamieyeseigha not be pardoned because he is a minority?”
He further asked why there is no similar brouhaha over the other beneficiaries of the pardon that came from other major tribes in the country.
“Why the focus on Alamieyeseigha when coupists are amongst those that were pardoned?”
The National Council of States, headed by President Jonathan on Tuesday granted state pardon to Mr Alamieyeseigha and other ex-convicts including Major Genral Oladipo Diya, Major Bello Magaji, Mohammed Lima Biu, Late Major General Abdulkareem Adisa (Post Humous), Major Segun Fadipe and former head of the Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama.
According to Mr Uranta, the military coup plotters engaged in a higher level of corruption than the convicted former governor because they truncated the nation’s constitution to enrich their pockets.
He also asked why there was no similar uproar following the pardon granted to the first Speaker of the fourth republic, Mr Salisu Buhari, who was pardoned by President Olusegun Obasanjo just hours after his conviction.
Mr Uranta also recalled that former President Obasanajo was also granted pardon after he was convicted and sentenced to death for an alleged coup plot.
The social commentator urge all Nigerians to respect the decision of the National Council of States, emphasising that it was not a decision reached by the President on his own.
“If all former Chief Justices, former Presidents and all serving governors sat down and decide that these people deserve to be pardoned, then I think we should all respect that.”