The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has declared that the seat of Senator Orji Kalu will not be declared vacant following his conviction and imprisonment by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Senator Godiya Akwashiki, the spokesperson for the Senate, noted that it was not possible to declare Kalu’s seat vacant. The senator noted that Mr. Kalu’s seat can only be declared vacant after he had explored all legal options available to him without success.
Naija Buzz News reported how the senator who is the Senate Chief Whip was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment over N7.1billion fraud he perpetrated when he was governor of Abia State.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2007 brought charges of fraud against the former governor. 12 years later, he was convicted.
The senator was convicted alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Jones Udeogu, his former Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House in Umuahia, the capital of Abia.
The senate spokesperson noted that this is not the first time a senator would face prosecution and conviction at a lower court.
“The Senate has no reason to declare his seat vacant. This is not the first time that such a thing would happen.
“There is no provision in the constitution that says the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted at a lower court should be declared vacant.
“He still has the opportunity to appeal the case.
“Even the tenure of a former governor Joshua Dariye, who has been in prison for some time now, ran its course until the end of the 8th National Assembly. Nobody declared his seat vacant.
“The Senate President cannot declare the seat of Kalu vacant. It is against the law.
“Tell those who are canvassing such things that there is nothing like that, it is a non-issue,” the Senate spokesperson added.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.