By Sanusi Muhammad
It was on March 22, 2018, that John Yakubu Yusuf, an indigene of Gombe State and former Assistant Director in the Federal Civil Service was sentenced to prison by the Federal Court of Appeal for stealing about N24billion from the Police Pension Fund.
Ironically, the said criminal is still enjoying his freedom outside the walls of the prison that he was sentenced to be a tenant without payment of rent and in a secured environment with free feeding and other essential services.
The Federal Court of Appeal had on that date, reversed the earlier suspected compromised judgment of an Abuja High Court and sentenced John to a cumulative term of six years (two years per count on a three count charge) that John is yet to kick-start.
The convict is said to have as usual with such criminals appealed the Federal Court of Appeal judgment at the Supreme Court, but the Appeal from the point of law is not supposed to act as a stay of execution of the already passed judgment of the appellant court.
“He is supposed to be in prison while pursuing his appeal until its determination by the Supreme Court”, said Barr. Isa Bukar, an Abuja based Constitutional lawyer.
If that is the case, why then is John Yakubu Yusuf still enjoying his freedom with stolen funds?
Spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tony Orilade was quoted saying that, “After a successful Appeal of the Abuja High Court judgment by the EFCC that upturned Justice Talba’s judgment, the Appeal Court handed John a six-year jail term with a more adequate fine of N20billion, N1.4billion and N1.5billion on counts 17, 18 and 19 totaling N22.9billion.
But a curious visit to Kuje and Keffi prison yards that usually accommodate most convicts from the FCT shows that the convicted criminal is yet to be in any of the prison yards.
Nigeria Prison Service spokesman, Francis Enobore said: “It is the duty of the prosecuting agency (EFCC) with powers of arrest to ensure that a person against whom it secured conviction and sentence is delivered intact to the prison authority along with the written decision of the Court”.
In view of the above stated, the EFCC was supposed to have delivered John Yakubu Yusuf intact to the prison authority to serve his six-year steady sentence for the safety of the larger society.
From the look of things, the claim and counter claim between EFCC and the prison authority is the reason why the convicted criminal is still enjoying his undeserved freedom which makes it curious that in a Buhari model of governance, with the ruthless Magu in-charge of the EFCC and Bichi in the DSS, a high profile convicted criminal is still not behind the bars despite glaring evidence of conviction .The lapse is making nonsense of our criminal justice system and the anti-corruption so to say.
With the recent arrest of AbdulRashid Maina by the DSS and handed over to EFCC for subsequent action, the same DSS should be assisted by the general public not to relent in its effort to fish out John Yakubu Yusuf to begin his prison sentence with immediate effect.