Justice Emmanuel Agim of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, Abuja division has said that public office holders convicted of fraud deserve the death penalty for the effect their crimes have on the society.
Justice Agim said this while delivering judgement in an appeal brought by a former governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame, who was convicted in May by the Federal High Court, Abuja for fraudulently diverting N1.64 billion and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.
The Appeal Court had on Friday reduced Mr. Nyame’s sentence to 12 years but added a fine of N495 million, which the lower court had ommitted during sentencing.
The judge held the view that activities of mostly fraudulent officials which have caused massive cases of poverty, unemployment and increase in crime rates among other things, make it justifiable for them to be awarded capital punishment.
He said, “This should go as a notice to all of us; we have a penchant for appropriating to ourselves funds that are meant for public purposes.
“A lot of us are guilty of that. The long arm of the law does not expire. It will take on all those found guilty.
“The fact that the crimes were duly committed by public servants; their impact on the people and security of Taraba State justifies a capital punishment.
“The appellant is a Christian religious leader; a preacher and therefore a man of God. The manner of diversion shows a callous criminal mind. But the courts are bound by law not to exceed laid down provisions.”