The Nigerian Senate has said that the seat of Orji Uzor Kalu as the Chief Whip of the Senate will not be declared vacant even though he has been convicted by the Federal High Court Lagos.
The convicted senator will continue to receive his salaries and all other entitlements while in prison. Last week, the Federal High Court in Lagos sentenced Orji Uzor Kalu to a maximum of 12 years imprisonment for N7bn.
Th spokesperson of the Senate, senator Godiya Akwashiki, said Kalu’s seat will not be vacant until he exhausts all legal options, adding that the convicted senator will be paid all of his entitlements in full.
“He (Orji Uzor Kalu) is still a senator. This is the first court. The matter is going to Supreme Court so, he still has the opportunity to appeal up to the Supreme Court level.
Of course they will pay him. Because he is a sitting senator just like I said…if you file for appeal, you are still serving and so they will pay you.
All his entitlements will be paid. There is no cause for alarm. In fact, even if Court of Appeal says they have upheld the judgement of the lower court, he still has the right to go to Supreme Court. So once the Supreme Court says, yes, the judgement is okay, then that’s the final,” he explained.
Senator Akwashiki further stated that no provision in the constitution that says the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted at a lower court should be declared vacant.
“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”.