Former Abia State governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, whose conviction was nullified by the Supreme Court on Friday, has said that he can’t wait to rejoin his colleagues in the Senate after spending the last five months in prison.
KanyiDaily recalls that Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos had on December 5, 2019, sentenced Orji Kalu to 12 years’ imprisonment for N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering.
However, in a unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour on Friday, the apex court nullified the entire trial on the grounds that the constitution does not permit a judge elevated to a higher court to return to a lower court to conclude a part-heard case.
Reacting to his victory at the supreme court, the former governor said his five months stay in prison had taught him invaluable lessons about the country’s justice system.
Senator Kalu said the judgment affirmed his right to fair hearing and equal protection of the law, adding that he is looking forward to rejoining his colleagues in the Senate as soon as possible. He said:
“Today, the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave a judgment in my favor, quashing the conviction which the lower court had entered against me. By today’s judgment, the Apex court of our dear country affirmed my right to fair hearing and equal protection of the law.
“The past five months have been quite a profound period for me. As challenging as that period has been, it has provided me an opportunity to learn invaluable lessons about our country, our peoples, our justice system and the true meaning of love. I mean love for family, love for our country and love for humanity.
“Throughout the dark era of military rule in Nigeria, the Supreme Court neither wavered nor flinched in its commitment to justice and fairness.
“And despite some moments of distraction and mass hysteria, the Nigerian Supreme Court has remained the veritable compass to the highest ideals of justice attainable in this country.
“This long tradition of the court was exemplified in today’s judgment. I was humbled by the court’s boldness and sense of justice as shown in my case.
“Overall, my experience tested and reaffirmed my belief and confidence in our country, Nigeria. My case is a true Nigerian story with a bold MADE-IN-NIGERIA stamp on it. It is a story of initial injustice that was caught and ultimately corrected. It is a story of restoration.
“It is a story of how a wrong was righted and how justice and truth prevailed in the end. It is a story of the power of hope.
“My case should teach us all that even though we may not get things right at the first attempt, with patience and dedication, we shall get them right eventually.
“That is the lesson of my case and that is the lesson of our country – that with dedication and patience, we shall place Nigeria in its rightful place eventually.”
The senator declared he would commit to securing justice for millions of Nigerians who have suffered unfairly. He said:
“I have come to know that the course of justice will not be complete if it stopped at my case. It must continue until it touches the lives of millions of Nigerians who face injustice anywhere in this world.
“I shall be dedicating my time henceforth to ensuring there will be justice for all Nigerians whether they are in Sokoto or Akwa Ibom or in Lagos or Maiduguri or in Jos or Enugu, or wherever they may be. Justice for one man or for a few people will no longer be enough in this country.
“A system whereby over 70% of all prison inmates population is made up of people awaiting trial cannot be allowed to continue. Situations where innocent people are falsely charged with murder just to get them out of the way do not dignify our country and cannot continue. Justice must now mean justice for all. That is my pledge to Nigerians.”
KanyiDaily had also reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized properties belonging to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu as directed by Justice Muhammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos.