Orji Kalu, former governor of Abia State.

The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) has called on Northerners not to allow Orji Uzor Kalu, a former Abia State governor to rot in jail.

The president of the AYCF, Shettima Yerima, made the call on Monday while addressing newsmen in Kaduna State.

The former governor representing Abia North at the Senate was last year sentenced to twelve years imprisonment after being found guilty of the corruption charges pressed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Kalu alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and his former Abia State director of finance, Ude Udeogu, were convicted of N7.65billion fraud perpetuated when he was Abia State governor between 1999 and 2007.

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For Mr Yerima, the former governor whom he said has been an ally of the North should not be left to suffer his fate alone as this will amount to betrayal of the long standing relationship between him and the protectorate.

“Kalu has contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria’s economy. In the South East, Kalu has also worked very hard for the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, has been in the forefront of promotion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and policies and should be appreciated instead,” Yerima said.

“On several occasions, Kalu has proven in act and deeds how detribalised and generous he has been to both the North and West. Despite being Igbo, he has extended the same commitment he has given to his people to other parts of the country without prejudice.

“The North cannot claim to be unaware of the reasons for Kalu’s predicaments. It would amount to betrayal and posterity will definitely be unfair to the entire North.

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“The North is known for sustaining friendship. We are not known as people who could sacrifice friendship for political gains. We don’t believe in forgetting the past because it’s part of our lives.

“Kalu holds several titles in the North and has been a very strong ally of the North. His friendship with President Buhari dates many years ago, as well as General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalami Abubakar and several others. We shouldn’t be proud of his incarceration. We should be ashamed of allowing some people have their way at his expense.

“It is important the Northern and South Western leaders overlook whatever motivated his incarceration and intervene now,” he pleaded.

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