In rare criticism, US says it is "disappointed" by Nigeria's pardon of corrupt official

The United States has criticized Nigeria for issuing a pardon to a former governor convicted of corruption who is a political confidant of the nation's president.

In messages Friday on Twitter, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria said it was "deeply disappointed" over the pardon issued this week of former Bayelsa state Gov. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was impeached and later convicted in Nigeria. Investigators said he likely stole millions of dollars while in office.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan once served as Alamieyeseigha's deputy. His impeachment marked the start of Jonathan's rise in Nigerian politics.

The embassy said: "We see this as a setback in the fight against corruption." Embassy spokeswoman Deb MacLean said Friday that officials had no further immediate comment.

Nigeria is a top U.S. crude oil supplier.