Following the Supreme Court’s judgement on Friday that the Federal High Court in Lagos acted without jurisdiction when it convicted Orji Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and former Director of Finance in Abia State, Jones Udeogu, the former governor of Abia State has reacted to the Court’s verdict.
Speaking after his release from the Nigerian correctional facility in Kuje, Abuja, sequel to the Apex Court’s judgement, 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'” he added.
“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.”
“Before I end, 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% 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, does not dignify our country and cannot continue. Justice must now mean justice for all. That is my pledge to Nigerians.
“I look forward to rejoining my colleagues in the Senate as soon as possible.”
Vanguard had earlier reported that the apex court held that trial Justice Mohammed Liman was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as at the time he sat and delivered the judgement that convicted the defendants for allegedly stealing about N7.1billion from Abia state treasury.
According to the Supreme Court, Justice Liman, having been elevated to the Court of Appeal before then, lacked the powers to return to sit as a High Court Judge. It held that the Fiat that was issued to him by the Court of Appeal President pursuant to section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was unconstitutional.
Consequently, the apex court vacated the judgement that convicted the defendants and ordered a fresh trial of the defendants.
On December 5, 2019, a Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday sentenced Orji Kalu, to 12 years’ imprisonment for N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering.
The court convicted Kalu, now a senator, on all the 39 counts preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charge. Kalu was charged alongside a former Commissioner for Finance, in the state Jones Udeogo, and his company, Slok Nig. Ltd.