There was mild disorder on the floor of the upper chamber as Senate’s chief whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Tuesday resumed legislative duties about a week after his release from prison over allegations bothering on fraud.
Kalu, for about six months, was at the correctional service in Kuje, Abuja, after he was convicted and sentenced for money laundering by the Federal High Court in Lagos to the tune of N7.1 billion.
The former Abia State governor, who stood trial alongside a former Director of Finance and Account in Abia, Ude Udeogu, was sentenced by Justice Mohammed Idris, who, in a legal tussle that started in 2007, had been elevated to the court of Appeal bench.
On May 8, however, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel led by Justice Amina Augie, held that the Lagos Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction when it convicted Mr Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Mr Udeogu.
Following the apex court verdict which did not include releasing Mr Kalu from prison, his counsels, therefore, filed a suit before the Lagos Federal High Court for Mr Kalu’s release.
In a judgement read by Justice Mohammed Liman at the Lagos court, the correctional centre was ordered to release Mr Kalu from its Kuje facility in Abuja last Tuesday, and the order was carried out the next day.
In the meantime, upon Kalu’s return to the Senate on Tuesday, was seen exchanging pleasantries with his colleagues, legislative staff and security operatives.
I just want to thank God for everything that has happened. It is the will of God. I want to urge Nigerians to keep hope alive.
Despite his resumption, Kalu did not resume his duty as Chief Whip, as the Deputy Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, still acted in his capacity.
Welcoming Kalu back to the chamber, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, stated:
I want to welcome our one and only chief whip of the Senate, and indeed the National Assembly. Chief whip, you are welcome, we are very grateful to the Almighty God for his blessings.