Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement Africa, a Civil Society Organisation on Thursday, said recent conviction of Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye was victory for anti-corruption fight.
Executive Director of the organisation, Samson Itodo, stated this in a statement in Abuja.
He said that the imprisonment of the former governors of Taraba and Plateau, respectively, clearly showed that the fight against corruption and impunity was gradually becoming a reality.
Dariye, who held office between 1999 and 2007, was on Tuesday sentenced to 14 years in jail by a Federal High Court in Abuja for diverting N1.16 billion ecological funds to personal use.
Nyame was also convicted for diverting N1.64 billion state’s funds while in office between 1999 and 2017 and sent to jail for 14 years.
Itodo said: “This feat clearly shows that the fight against corruption and impunity is gradually becoming a reality and we hope to see more of this thread across board.”
He said that YIAGA Africa commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the laudable stride and for ensuring that justice prevailed in spite of the length of time involved.
He said: “YIAGA Africa also commends Justice Adebukola Banjoko who deserves some accolades for dispensing justice without fear or favour.
“This shows that the fight against corruption can only succeed with the cooperation of the judiciary and sets a precedent for a string of similar pending cases.”
Itodo said that the convictions of the former governors, who are members of ruling All Progressives Congress would boost anti-corruption efforts and potentially help to speed up pending cases.
He said that the group was hopeful that the nation would witness more convictions of former political office holders, who were corrupt.
Itodo also urged the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court to ensure that justice prevailed at all times to restore public confidence in the judiciary.
He said that corruption was a deep-rooted problem which had taken its toll on the government, people, infrastructure, business and life of the average Nigerian.
According to him, the impact of corruption in Nigeria is felt by every layer of the population.
He said that people had to survive in the country where rules could be omitted if one had money and this had tremendously widened the gap between the poor and the rich.
The director said that the situation had led to lack of good roads and potable water and poor educational and health facilities.
He said that it was on this basis that YIAGA Africa launched “Bounce Corruption Project’’ to among other things, get Nigerians to support the anti-corruption fight.
This, he said, could be achieved by holding leaders to account and blow the whistle where they detected a corrupt act.
Itodo implored the Federal Government and the EFCC to take a step further by recovering stolen monies and invest it in public service that would benefit the state.