…Wonders when Abia will get justice from the matter
Arising from the delay in re-arraigning the former governor of Abia state, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu for corruption by the Economic and and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a coalition of civil society organisations under the auspices of Global Centre for Conscious Living Against Corruption (GCCLAC) has kicked.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja today, the Coordinator, Dr. Gabriel Nwambu said failure to bring Kalu to justice will amount to celebration of corruption, in view of the way he has been integrated back to the political system.
He recalled that, on the 7th of April 2020, the Supreme Court as the Apex Court in Nigeria nullified the trial of former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, his firm, SLOK Nigeria Limited and Jones Udeogu (an accomplice), a former Director of Finance and Accounts of Abia State Government and ordering their fresh trial at the lower court.
This medium also recall that the apex court based its verdict on the grounds that Justice Mohammed Idris, who convicted Kalu and others had been elevated to the Court of Appeal before the judgment and returned to the lower court to deliver the judgment which it considered as illegal.
According to Dr. Nwambu, although the EFCC had responded to this judgment in a letter signed by Dele Oyewale, Head, Media and Publicity on the 8th of May, 2020, stating that the anti graft agency considers the judgment of the apex court as ‘quite unfortunate’ where he stated that it was a ‘technical ambush’ against the trial of the former Governor.
He further stated ‘The commission is prepared for a fresh and immediate trial of the case because its evidences against Kalu and others are overwhelming. The entire prosecutorial machinery of the EFCC would be launched in a fresh trial where justice is bound to be served in due course”.
In his words, Dr. Nwambu said: “Today is Tuesday, the 7th of July, 2020 which is exactly 3 months since the ruling of the Supreme Court nullifying the judgement of Justice Mohammed Idris and ordering their fresh trial at the lower court. Again, the letter signed by Dele Oyedele who is the Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC reaffirming the determination of the anti-graft agency to re-arraign Orji Uzor Kalu and others, since according to him the evidences against the suspect in the 7.65 billion naira theft is overwhelming. It is also worthy of note that the Apex court did not acquit the ex-Governor and others of the alleged crime.
“Again, the manner the ex governor was given a red- carpet reception and even integrated to a political party campaign committee seems to give a connotation that we are a people celebrate theft and embezzlement of public funds even when Abia state is already hemorrhaging as a result of the alleged massive looting perpetrated by Mr. Orji Uzor.
“Now, in a criminal matter expected to be dispensed expeditiously but unfortunately has been on for the past 13 years with the attendant depletion of tax payers money. The question that readily comes to mind of most Nigerians are: (1). When would the re-arraignment of Orji Uzor Kalu and others be or has it been swept under the carpet?
“Why would a criminal matter of an individual take as much as 13 years with justice continually eluding the people of Abia State.
“The present delay tactics or what we may call ‘SLOW MOTION’; is it punitive enough to deter intending perpetrators of such crime?
“By this medium, we hereby call on the EFCC live up to expectations and commence the re-arraignment and the trial of Ex- Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, his company SLOK Nig. Limited and Jones Udeogu (an accomplice), and a former Director of Finance and Accounts of Abia State Government”.
He reminded the EFCC that Nigeria must not allow itself to be ridiculed by the international community that is watching her with the eagle eyes.
“It is pertinent to remind the EFCC that the world is watching. Nigerians and indeed the people of Abia state suffering from the direct impact of the alleged embezzlement are also watching, waiting for justice to be served. This is indeed a test of the degree of sincerity and unbiased position of the present administration’s commitment on the war against corruption, a true test whether it is lips service targeted at opposition or a true fight to recover the Nigerian nation from the shackles of political undertakers who have plunged the nation to her present economic quagmire.
“Finally, our coalition hereby promise Nigerians a continuous update on this matter as events unfold”, he concluded.