Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State yesterday condemned the 45-year jail term handed down by an Oshogbo High Court to 31-year-old Kelvin Igha Ighodalo for stealing a phone.
Fayemi wondered why a phone thief could be jailed 45 years whereas culprits in N12 billion pension fund scam were freed.
This, he said, showed the kind of justice system in the country.
The governor, who said “offences must have commensurate punishment,” demanded that “those who steal the nation’s resources should be made to face the full wrath of the law”.
Speaking during the 2013 May Day celebration in Ado-Ekiti, Fayemi said although he did not want his phone stolen, there was no way a phone thief could be sentenced to 45 years’ imprisonment in a country where plea-bargaining was in existence to bail out the affluent ones.
The governor, who disclosed that politicians and influential Nigerians who stole the country’s resources were being released by courts courtesy of criminal justice administration, said the phone thief was supposed to be made to buy the phone and face commensurate punishment for the crime.
He said: “I am not saying that stealing of a phone set is good, but the dispensation of justice should not be to give privileges to the rich people.”
An Osogbo High Court had on Monday sentenced Ighodalo to 45 years imprisonment without an option of fine for stealing a Sony Erricson phone valued at N50,000 belonging to Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola on November 27, 2010 and impersonating the governor to defraud some individuals.
The governor threatened to move against workers that engaged in partisan politics in the state, saying such civil servants should resign their positions.
Fayemi, who said some civil servants had been carrying out political activities unabated, said such workers would be held accountable for their conduct when apprehended by appropriate authorities.
Workers in the state, who gathered at the Kayode Oluyemi Stadium, Ado- Ekiti, shelved their yearly march past to honour the late Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, who died of cancer on April 6.
The state Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Comrade Kolawole Olaiya, blamed corruption, insecurity, militancy and other vices in the country on bad leadership, saying Nigerians should strive to put those that would be responsive to their yearnings and aspirations in leadership positions.
The labour leader, who urged the state government to embark on mass recruitment into the civil service to reduce the rate of unemployment, made a case for improved welfare for workers in the state.
Olaiya advised the government on what to do to improve its revenue base, including establishment of farm plantations and farm centres in the 16 council areas, establishment of food storage, construction of mechanic villages, soap processing factory, garri mill operation and plantain factory.