The Supreme Court has nullified the judgment which convicted the former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.
A seven-man panel of the apex court also set aside the judgment which convicted a former Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House, Ude Udeogu.
The Court gave the judgement on Friday, about five months after both men were convicted of corruption allegations levelled against them by the Federal Government.
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos had sentenced Senator Kalu to 12 years imprisonment in his judgement delivered in December 2019, just as he sentenced Mr Udeogu to 10 years imprisonment.
Kalu and Udeogu, displeased with the judgement of the Federal High Court, filed an appeal to challenge their sentencing at the Supreme Court.
In a unanimous verdict on the appeal delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, the apex court declared that the conviction of the appellants was null and void.
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.
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.