The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) says the conviction and sentencing of the former governor of Abia State Orji Uzor Kalu, on N7.56 billion fraud is further proof that the war against corruption is in full swing,
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday found Kalu, guilty of 39 counts of N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering.
Kalu was charged alongside Jones Udeogo, the state Commissioner for Finance during his tenure as the governor.
Reacting, in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju in Abuja on Thursday, BMO said Kalu, being a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was not shielded from prosecution, contrary to what opposition elements had been saying about the ruling party.
Akinsiju said that the conviction of a high-ranking APC chieftain proved that the courts were indeed independent in this dispensation.
“For some time, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its supporters had been casting aspersion on the anti-corruption crusade, especially in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
“The claim then was that all a politician seeking protection from trial needed to do was to join APC.
”And this was even after two former governors who are also members of the ruling party, had been convicted and sent to jail.
“This speaks for the focus and uncompromising nature of the administration, and if a high ranking senator is in jail, then clearly a message has been sent out on the rule of law.
“So if there was any doubt about President Muhammadu Buhari’s sincerity, then the fact that a ranking member of his party Orji Uzor Kalu has been sentenced to a 12-year jail term is proof that such doubts had been unfounded.
“We hope that the judgment delivered by Justice Muhammad Idris of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, would clear all doubts about the seriousness of the anti-graft crusade,” BMO chairman said.
He also commended Buhari for his efforts at ensuring that Nigeria had stronger institutions that could operate independently without interference.
Akinsiju said: “On his watch, the nation’s anti-graft agencies now have a new lease on life and are exceeding previous records of performance.”
“We hope that Nigerians will no longer be regaled with tales of a selective war against graft, especially when judgment day comes for some members of the previous administrations standing trial for sundry corruption charges,” NAN quoted him as saying.