The Nigerian Senate says it will not be declaring vacant the seat of one of its members, Orji Uzor Kalu, despite his conviction by the Federal High Court Lagos.
The Federal High Court in a landmark judgment delivered on Thursday, December 5th, sentenced Orji Uzor Kalu to 12 years imprisonment for N7.1 billion fraud perpetrated while he was governor of Abia state.
Following the judgment, there have been calls for the senate to declare Kalu’s seat vacant.
However, spokesperson of the Senate, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, said Kalu’s seat will not be vacant until he exhausts all legal options.
“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” he said
He however did not confirm if Kalu will still be receiving his salary as a senator while in prison.