The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate and former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has promised to complement the government to raise the bar in the infrastructural development of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
Kalu also disclosed his plan to build a new cell for the correctional service to decongest the prison.
The former Governor stated this during a visit to the Kuje Nigerian Correctional Service in Abuja on Friday.
This was disclosed in a statement issued to newsmen on Saturday in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
Continuing, Kalu stated that his visit to the Kuje centre was part of his covenant with God to encourage and support the mental wellbeing of those in detention as he has been visiting and spending time with the authority of the service and inmates.
He said that the solar power project he sponsored has helped the prison with 24-hour power supply.
Kalu commended the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Correctional Service for his commitment and great improvement in the correctional centre.
The Representative of Abia North Senatorial district at the National Assembly also thanked the head of the Nigerian Correctional Service Medial Security Custodial Center, Kuje, Abuja, and staff for their selflessness and generosity in discharging their duties.
Kalu, who further recalled his experience and ordeal while incarcerated at the centre, restated that his unlawful stay and incarceration on the allegation of laundering billions of naira belonging to Abia State had taught him to know more about life and humanity.
He recalled and narrated some ordeal encountered while at the Kuje Correctional Centre which he partly narrated in the statement, “Since I became an adult and as long as I can remember, there have been two occasions I wrote and couldn’t hold back. The first was the day Igbos were deported from Lagos to Onitsha. After my reaction to the unceremonious event, I questioned the humanity in this country and the embarrassment attached. I never foresaw that such could ever happen in my lifetime.
“The second was when I was at the Nigerian Correctional Service Medial Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, Abuja. Somehow, one young man (names withheld) approached me and sought an audience which I granted. He told me a pathetic story of how he found himself in prison. He is the only child of his parents and his father was also imprisoned. That night, I prayed and thanked God for encountering him. I didn’t need anyone to tell me it was a set-up for his family. After my intervention by engaging the services of a lawyer, he and his father were freed. May God bless him.
“With God’s grace, I was able to secure the release of not less than 100 inmates who were in detention because they couldn’t afford a lawyer or bail. My stay in Kuje actually gave me an opportunity to see the deepest and lowest ebb of the downtrodden. While many in detention are guilty of one crime or the other, there are several others who are languishing in detention because they could not fulfill the requirements of the law to be freed. They just needed little intervention and I am grateful to God for using me. However, I also noticed there are a few who do not want to leave the prison. For reasons best known to them, they feel much more comfortable spending their entire lives in prison. It’s a deep world.”
Recall that Kalu was incarcerated at the Kuje prison for months as a result of the Justice Mohammed Idris-led Federal High Court in Abuja which found him guilty on the money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
The nation’s anti-graft agency had claimed that Kalu laundered N7.1 billion belonging to the state while serving as Governor between 1999 and 2007.
Dissatisfied with the ruling of the lower court, Senator Orji Kalu approached the Supreme Court to challenge the legality of his conviction slammed on him by Justice Idris, which the apex court had on May 8, 2020, in its unanimous decision, nullified his unlawful conviction and acquitted him on the criminal charges preferred against him by the EFCC.