The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, has said his five months incarceration has given him the opportunity of learning “invaluable lessons” about Nigeria and its justice system.
Mr. Kalu said this in a statement on Friday after the Supreme Court nullified his trial and conviction for corruption. A high court had sentenced Mr. kaly, his firm, SLOK and another to 12 years imprisonment for fraud running into billions of Naira. It was alleged that he committed the crime during his eights years tenure as governor of Abia State.
Kalu said, “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.
“I would like to let it be known that the events of the past five months gave me an added perspective on matters of justice and injustice in Nigeria.
“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 per cent 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.”
The apex court had, in a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel led by Justice Amina Augie, held that the Federal High Court in Lagos acted unconstitutionally when it convicted Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and a former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, in December last year.
The court said that trial Justice Mohammed Liman was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as of the time he sat and delivered the judgment that convicted the defendants for allegedly stealing about N7.1bn from the Abia State treasury when he was governor.