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Fugitive Nigerian Governor to Resume Work Monday

Nigeria’s fugitive governor, Joshua Dariye, is expected to resume work Monday as governor of the north-central state of Plateau. He was arrested in 2004 in London on money laundering charges when authorities found about two million dollars in his hotel room. Dariye was briefly detained and then granted bail. But he fled London to escape trial. The embattled governor was then impeached by a faction of the Plateau State parliament.

Two court rulings, including one by the Nigerian Supreme Court last Friday ordered his reinstatement on the grounds the parliament did not follow due process in removing him.

Yakubu Dati is Governor Dariye’s commissioner for information. From the Plateau State capital, Jos, he told VOA the governor is happy that the rule of law has again prevailed in Nigeria.

“The governor is very happy that the rule of law has triumph in this conflict. The issue actually under contention is that a house of assembly made up of 24 members, six members out of the eight sat down to initiate impeachment proceedings. Now, that is wrong, considering the law in the federal republic of Nigeria which clearly stipulates that for a house to constitute the membership that can impeach the governor, they must form a two-third majority,” he said.

Dati said many people rushed to judgment in the money laundering charges against Governor Dariye.

“You see, we live in a society where our constitution stipulates, and that is internationally true that until found guilty, every individual is presumed innocent. So when we are talking about following due process and due procedure, an accusation is not a condemnation to a crime,” Dati said.

He said the embattled Governor Joshua Dariye would resume work Monday as governor of Plateau State.

"The governor is going to resume today. He has already instructed the deputy governor, Michael Botmang, who has already made a public statement stating that he has reverted back to his position as the deputy governor at the suggestion of governor Chief Dariye in obedient to the highest court of the land,” he said.

Dati said the citizens of Plateau State were also pleased with the court ruling and would welcome Governor Dariye with open hands.

“Citizens of Plateau State are very, very excited with this judgment. You will recall that most of the accusations against Chief Joshua Chibi Dariye were politically motivated. And so there’s a lot of excitement in Jos as people are happy because first and foremost the accusations against Dariye were unfair. He was not even tried; he was not given fair hearing, and for God’s sake, this is a democratically elected governor of a state who was elected twice, first in 1999 and second in 2002,” he said.

Dati said the embattled Governor Dariye does not hold any grudge against members of the Plateau State parliament that first voted to impeach him or the federal government. But he said Governor Dariye has been vindicated.