We can’t declare Kalu’s seat vacant-Senate

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The Nigerian Senate has said that it does not have any reason to declare Orji Uzor Kalu’s seat vacant.

Dr Kalu was convicted of money laundering and embezzlement of funds while he was governor of Abia State from 1999-2007.

Justice Mohammed Idris sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment over N7.1bn fraud charges against him which has lingered in the court for 12 years since it was instituted in 2007 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The former governor and the current  senator representing Abia North was convicted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Jones Udeogu, who served under him as Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House in Umuahia.

The Senate has now said it would not be declaring the seat of Kalu vacant even as he spends his time in prison.

The Senate said, “There is 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.”

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