Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, stated that the Muhammadu Buhari led administration should free all prisoners who have been jailed for stealing.

He said this while speaking as the guest lecturer at an event organised to celebrate one year remembrance of late Yinka Odumakin and launching of Yinka Odumakin Foundation, held at Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos state.

Falana said the gesture should be extended to all thieves in various prisons across the country.

The state pardon for the two former governors, Joshua Dariye (Plateau State) and Jolly Nyame (Taraba State) was approved at the Council of State meeting on Thursday.

A total of 159 convicts were pardoned by the Federal Government.

The decision to pardon the two former state governors has elicited different reactions from Nigeria.

Reacting to the development, Falana urged Buhari to extend the gesture to all thieves locked up in all prisons across the country.

Falana said, “They are pardoning themselves now, the same man who said he came to fight corruption now grants pardon to a man who has stolen billions of naira.

“My reaction is that all criminals, all thieves and criminals in our prisons should be released.”

Falana, said the 1999 Constitution guarantees equal rights for every Nigerian.

“Under Section 17 of their Constitution, it says there shall be equal rights for all citizens and Section 42 said there shall be no discrimination on the basis of class, gender, whatever. So you cannot take out two people and leave the rest there.

“If the government doesn’t release others, I am going to suggest to lawyers whose clients are likely to be left in prison to go to court and challenge the discriminatory treatment meted out to their own clients.

“If you want to pardon your friends, you must also extend the presidential pardon to all thieves because if the big thieves are being asked to walk away, we must also extend it to others.”

ICIR/IBRAHIM BAMIDELE

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