Former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has reacted to the Supreme Court quashing of his conviction saying that his experience tested and reaffirmed his belief and confidence in Nigeria’s judicial system.
Kalu in a statement he personally signed noted that the past five months have been quite a thoughtful period for him, adding that as challenging as the period has been, it provided him an opportunity to learn invaluable lessons about the country, its peoples, the justice system and the true meaning of love that include love for family, country and humanity.
His words, “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”.
Kalu vowed that he shall be dedicating his 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, stressing that justice for one man or for a few people will no longer be enough in the country.
He noted that a system whereby over 70% of all prison inmates are made up of people awaiting trial cannot be allowed to continue.
Kalu said, “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”.
He said that his case is a true Nigerian story with a bold MADE-IN-NIGERIA stamp on it, adding that it is a story of initial injustice that was caught and ultimately corrected.
In the words of Kalu; “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”.
Kalu accorded a special mention to the Justices of the Supreme Court for their unwavering commitment to rule of law, saying; “We all stand reminded of the consistent and strategic relevance of the Nigerian Supreme Court in holding this country together, even in moments of great peril.”
He further said; “As far back as in the 1971 case of LAKANMI V. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION, (the Ademola Adetikumbo-led Court) the Nigerian Supreme Court has severally rescued this country from the precipice. Also throughout the dark era of military rule in Nigeria, the Supreme Court neither wavered nor flinched in its commitment to justice and fairness.
“And despite some moments of distraction and mass hysteria, the Nigerian Supreme Court has remained the veritable compass to the highest ideals of justice attainable in this country. This long tradition of the court was exemplified in today’s judgment. I was humbled by the court’s boldness and sense of justice as shown in my case,” Kalu enthused.
He continued; “Today, the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave a judgment in my favor, quashing the conviction which the lower court had entered against me. By today’s judgment, the Apex court of our dear country affirmed my right to fair hearing and equal protection of the law.
“I want to use this moment to thank my family, my colleagues, my friends, my supporters, the people of Abia State, and all Nigerians for their unflinching and unwavering confidence and trust in me through the very testing period.
“We all know today that their prayers have not been in vain. I also use this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Nigerian Correctional Service for the unalloyed professionalism and sincere humanity extended to me by its staff while I was in their custody.
He said he look forward to rejoining his colleagues in the Senate as soon as possible.