Barely 24 hours after the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered his release, Senate Chief Whip and former Abia State governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has regained freedom after six months incarceration.
He stepped out of Kuje Correctional Centre last night after the completion of his release formalities.
The court had transmitted the judgment as well as Warrant of Release duly signed by Justice Liman to the authorities of Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja early yesterday to facilitate the senator’s freedom.
Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos had on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of Kalu. He also set aside the trial, conviction and sentence of the former governor to 12 years imprisonment on December 5, 2019, in accordance with the earlier ruling of the Supreme Court.
In his ruling, Justice Liman ordered Kalu’s immediate release from prison as well as set aside the earlier trial and order given by Justice MB idris that Slok Nigeria Limited be wound up and its assets forfeited to Federal Government.
Kalu had gone to the court asking for his release in line with the Supreme Court’s judgment last month nullifying his trial and conviction.
The Supreme Court had ruled that since Justice Idris was elevated to the Court of Appeal, he had no jurisdiction to have concluded Kalu’s trial.
The apex court, therefore, nullified the conviction and ordered a retrial.
Kalu had stepped out of the Kuje Correctional Centre accompanied by his wife, Mrs Ifunanya Uzor Kalu. He was received by member representing Bende Federal Constituency, Ben Kalu; former member of the House of Representatives, Nnanna Uzor Kalu; former Chief of Staff, Abia State, Mr Mascot Uzor Kalu; a former Deputy Chief of Staff, Abia State, Dr Maduka Ukaegbu, Kalu’s associate, Mr Obidigbo Enwezoh, among others.
The senator left the correctional centre’s premises in a black Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). He arrived at his Aso Villa residence to behold supporters and well-wishers.
Addressing the people, Hon Ben Kalu appreciated all the people of Bende Federal Constituency, Abia North Senatorial District, Abia people, the people of the South East, members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and entire Nigerians.
Speaking earlier, a former Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration, Chief Chuka Odom, extended gratitude to all those who stood by Kalu during the period of his ordeal.
“We are very happy today that he is back home and you all know that at this point in time, there is a lockdown in the whole country because of COVID-19. We are trying to respect the Federal Government’s policy in this direction to ensure that we do not allow crowd around. It is not out of lack of appreciation for the sacrifice all of you have made in these past few hours and days,” Odom said.