Orji Kalu, the senate’s chief whip, on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, resumed legislative duties about a week after he was released from prison for alleged fraud.
The former Abia State governor had been jailed for about six months at the correctional service after he was convicted and sentenced for money laundering to the tune of N7.1 billion by Lagos federal high court.
Kalu, who stood trial alongside Ude Udeogu, a former director of finance and account in Abia, was sentenced by Justice Mohammed Idris, who as of then had been elevated to the court of appeal bench, in a legal tussle that started in 2007.
But, on May 8 this year, 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 Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Udeogu.
However, the apex court verdict did not include releasing Kalu from prison. His counsels, therefore, filed a suit before the Lagos federal high court for Kalu’s release.
In a judgement read by Justice Mohammed Liman at the Lagos court, the correctional centre was ordered to release Kalu from its Kuje facility in Abuja last Tuesday. The centre obeyed the next day.
Upon his return to the Senate on Tuesday, Mr 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,” he told journalists as he approached the Senate chamber entrance.
Kalu, however, did not resume his duty as chief whip.
Sabi Abdullahi, the deputy chief whip, still acted in his stead.
Welcoming him, Senate President Ahmad Lawan expressed gratitude to God for having Kalu back.
“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,” a cheerful Lawan said as lawmakers laughed heartily.