Former Governor of Taraba state, Jolly Nyame has recounted his prison experience with former Plateau state governor, Joshua Dariye.
He said that he allowed Dariye to share his bathroom in the correctional facility so that they could use it an avenue to discuss about their situation and other sundry issues.
Nyame spoke during an interview with The Punch, saying; “There were times we sat and deliberated on many issues. We came to a conclusion at one of the sittings that we all did well for our states, but we asked ourselves, ‘Why us?’ We heard about other people being charged with offences involving N10bn, N20bn and so on, but at the end of the day, their case gets missing or withdrawn.
There are instances too where they say instead of convicting you, let’s do a plea bargain. So, we asked this question: why us? Why is ours different? At the end of the day, we came to the fact that what President Muhammadu Buhari did was to show an example of good leadership. I’m sure that he must have seen that these people (Dariye and myself) are the birds of the same plumage, so why them alone? Getting us off the hook is a plus to the government and the judiciary because if you compare what’s happening now, ours is just a child’s play. We didn’t even agree with all the charges.
So, we reflected on this and we felt so bad for this country, because there seems to be justice meant for some people. You don’t even talk about poor people when you are talking about justice because they are just there and you can convict them anytime. But even as a former governor, there are some selections; there is preferential treatment given to some former governors who belong, while some are just there and can be locked up anytime.”
The former governor also gave suggestion on the type of reforms needed in prisons across the country.
He said; “If I should suggest to the Federal Government to consider reform in the prison, I will start with justice delivery. But let us talk about the disposition of some of the inmates. First of all, I would like to appeal to the Federal Government to consider those who voluntarily refused to go when the attack happened to be granted pardon.
That place is not a place that one would like to stay if he has the opportunity to escape. So, how I wish that the Federal Government will grant pardon to those who refused to escape during the attack. That apart, during my years in prison, I interacted with a lot of inmates and I realised that there is something wrong with prosecution in this country. In the course of my interactions with the inmates, I discovered that some of them were wrongly accused and the prosecution would tell them, ‘Look, if you are able to pay so and so amount of money, you will be freed and not taken to prison’.
So, you will discover that sometimes, people go to court and later prison because they don’t have the money to pay. I also realised that if there is due diligence in prosecution, not many people will go to prison.”