The All Progressive Congress (APC) has advised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to apologize to former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu, over what it described as wrongful prosecution.
Mr Kanu, a federal lawmaker, had his 12-year jail term upturned by the Supreme Court on Friday. The EFCC had pressed corruption charges against the former governor, accusing him of stealing public funds while he held sway as governor.
The Federal High Court late last year delivered judgement in the suit that has been on for over a decade. The Appeal Court also validated the conviction. But the Supreme Court nullified it, citing breach of protocol by the judge who tried the former governor. It also ordered a re-trial of the Senate Chief Whip.
In a statement by its Enugu state chairman, Ben Nwoye on Friday, the APC said the former governor does not deserve a re-trial which the apex court ordered because he was wrongfully prosecuted.
Although the anti-graft agency has expressed willingness to retry the former governor, the APC is advising the EFCC to shelve the plan and rather apologize.
“We the good people of Enugu State APC celebrate with our Leader, an Igbo icon, His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Orji Uzor Kalu on his victory today and the nullification of his conviction by the Supreme Court,” the statement read.
“Today, more than ever before, our trust in the Nigerian judicial system has deepened. It took the court to right the wrong of another courts. This victory stands as a testimony that the court is indeed the last hope for both a common man and uncommon man.
“Injustice to a common man is equally as painful as injustice to an uncommon man. We are happy to know that your determination has pulled you through. We are comforted by your exemplary determination to change the criminal justice system to ensure that no innocent person shall suffer unlawful incarceration in our nation.
“God has used five months of your productive and youthful life to expose over half a century decay in our criminal justice system. We thank God and we thank the learned jurists for giving you back your freedom.
“We respectfully demand that the EFCC should render an apology to you for wrongful prosecution. It is a time for deep reflection on the part of EFCC and not a time to make puffy statement regarding further prosecution. One wrong prosecution has already resulted in five months of unlawful incarceration.
“H.E Senator Kalu deserves an apology from EFCC not a re-prosecution. We respectfully, request that EFCC should channel its resources to the prosecution of backlogs of other cases instead of engaging in vindictive repeat prosecution of an Igbo Icon,” the APC said.
It also called on the Nigerian Senate to investigate what transpired.
“We are calling on the Senate and House Committee on Judiciary to investigate the facts and circumstances that led to the malicious prosecution and unlawful incarceration of Distinguished Senator Orji Uzo Kalu.
“The good people of Enugu State and indeed the entire Nigerian people would like to know how an Appeal Court Justice stepped down from his upper chambers and sneaked into a lower court room and handed out an unlawful criminal conviction against a serving Distinguished Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The key question that begs the answer is, “was it a mistake or was it a political witch-hunt?. We fear that it is the later.”
“Once again, I and on behalf of the good people of Enugu State APC welcome back our hero. Congratulation Distinguished Senator Orji Kalu. You are the Mandela of our time. Nigerian people look forward to enjoying the quality representation you brought in the red chamber,” Mr Nwoye wrote.