A coalition of civil society organizations has alleged plot by some highly placed politicians to ensure that the federal government of Nigeria grant pardon to convicted politicians.
The group in a statement read by Uche Okoroafor on Tuesday April 14, 2020, in Abuja, commended President Muhammadu Buhari , the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, and the Judiciary “for the renewed zeal in the anti – corruption war which has led to the conviction of more high-profile corrupt politicians in the country.
“We particularly saluted the courage of the Justice Idris led High Court in Lagos which slammed 12-year jail sentence on Senator Kalu over alleged stealing of N7.6billiin while he was in office as Abia Governor”.
The group alleged that there is a fresh move by some highly-placed politicians to quash the 12 -year jail sentence slammed on the former governor on December 5, 2019 by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
“We have it on good authority that a certain group in the North has been paid to mobilise about 1000 people to stage a protest in Abuja this week over the conviction of the former governor.
“The group was reported to have addressed the media during which it mischievously claimed that Kalu was a victim of high level conspiracy and political witch -hunting. The group threatened to expose those it claimed were behind the conviction of Chief Kalu, just as it asked notable politicians in the North to rise up in the call to free the former governor whom the group described as “a friend of the North”.
It urged the DSS and Presidency to fish out those behind the planned protest and arraign them for attempt to undermine both our judiciary and the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government.
“Such persons or group should be arrested to serve as deterrent to others who may still want to sabotage the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari . Again, we insist that there should be no sacred cow in the fight against graft . Nigerians await the final judgment of the nation’s apex court on the trial of Chief Kalu over his conviction.
“We are also at loss over the post-conviction bail granted to Kalu’s co-convict Mr Ude Udeogu on purported terminal health condition. Does this not amount to freeing a culprit through the back door? If he claims he has a terminal and infectious disease, is it safer to release him to the larger society to infest others or keep him in a confinement for treatment? What about other lesser mortals with even worse health conditions yet they are still in prison custody? This sad development has also heightened our fear that Kalu may soon be freed from jail without completing his prison term as was recently boasted by one of his cronies.
“It has also come to our notice with utter dismay that frantic efforts are on by some powerful politicians to get Kalu out of prison under the guise of the recent directive to decongest correctional centres as part of strategies to stem the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic. We want to put Nigerians on alert of the incalculable damage, mistrust and erosion of public confidence this move might cause to our criminal justice system if allowed. No convict should be granted pardon or freedom in any guise as such will make nonsense of the war against corruption, the statement ended.