Nigerian senator and Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate Orji Uzor Kalu who was released from prison on June 3, 2020, received an exciting hero’s welcome on his return to his home state of Abia on Monday, July 27.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kalu was jailed for 12 years on December 5 for alleged N7.1 billion fraud, while serving as Abia State governor (1999 to 2007).
The Supreme Court, however, in a unanimous decision on May 8, nullified the trial and conviction of Kalu by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos on technical grounds.
The apex court said that Idris lacked the jurisdiction to try the matter, having been elevated to the Court of Appeal.
The former governor, however, remained incarcerated until June 2, when Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered his release from custody.
Kalu, who arrived at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, around 1.20 pm, was received by his political allies and chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state.
Party faithful also turned out in large numbers at Onuimo, the Abia/Imo boundary to receive him, waiving the APC flag and chanting the party slogan.
At Umuahia, scores of residents lined up the major streets to catch a glimpse of the lawmaker representing Abia North, who was chauffeured through the city in a motorcade enroute to Igbere, Bende Local Government Area.
Addressing newsmen at the airport, Kalu expressed gratitude to God for the prevailing peace in Nigeria.
He said that he felt well being home after his release from unlawful incarceration.
He said: “I feel well to be home. I am always a home boy. A home boy is always a home boy.”
Kalu said that his Abia North Senatorial District did not miss anything as a result of his six months at the Kuje Correctional Centre.
“Abia North did not miss anything because all that were supposed to be done were represented in the budget.”
“The senatorial district has become a huge construction site. What is happening there has never happened in any senatorial district in Abia.
“There are more than 19 roads currently undergoing rehabilitation in the area,” Kalu said.
Party stalwarts at the brief airport reception included the state Woman Leader, Dr Ori Obasi, Mr Chijioke Chukwu, representing Kalu’s Bende State Constituency at the Abia House of Assembly, Mr Ndukwe Agu, former General Manager, Abia Road Maintenance Agency, among others.
In separate remarks, they thanked God for Orji’s freedom from incarceration, saying that it further embolden the party ahead of the 2023 polls in Abia.
They also expressed the hope that Orji, who they described as a detribalised Nigerian, liked by many people across party lines, would give voice to the aspiration for a president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
At Kalu’s Camp Neya residence in Igbere, security operatives had hectic time trying to control the people, who thronged the compound in a bid to see him.
Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng
Copyright 2020 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.