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Falana urges FG to extend presidential pardon to petty thieves

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Falana urges FG to extend presidential pardon to petty thieves

Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has urged the Federal Government to extend Thursday’s presidential pardon granted some top Nigerians, to people serving terms for petty offences.

Falana made the call on Friday in Ikeja at the 1st anniversary of late Afenifere’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin’s Lecture and Book Presentation.

He said doing so for convicts without selectivity, and irrespective of class, would give a reflection of fairness and equality for all before the law.

It was gathered that the Council of State granted presidential pardon to 159 convicts on Thursday.

Among them were former governor of Plateau, Sen. Joshua Dariye and ex-Gov. Jolly Nyame of Taraba, who were both jailed for allegedly stealing N1.16 billion and N1.6 billion respectively.

Falana also advised that there should be no discrimination on the basis of belonging to the ruling class.

In his words, “All petty thieves in our prisons should be released. Under Section 17 of the 1999 Constitution, there shall be equality and equal rights for all citizens.

“Section 42 of the Constitution says there shall be no discrimination on the basis of class and gender, so you cannot take out a few people on the basis that they belong to a category or section of the society.

“I can assure you that if the government did not release others, I am going to call on lawyers whose clients are left in custody to come to court and challenge the discriminatory treatment on their clients.

“Just two weeks ago, a Nigerian was jailed for stealing N1,000 in Abuja; the accused pleaded with the judge that he had no food but the judge jailed him for six months.

“When we are talking of justice and fair play, if you want to pardon some set of people, then you must also extend presidential pardon to petty thieves in the prisons.

“This is because if the big thieves are being asked to go, then they must also extend the facility to other Nigerians.’’

Falana urges FG to extend presidential pardon to petty thieves

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