Former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, believes it is necessary for politicians and civil servants in Nigeria to go to prison.
Kalu, a presidential aspirant and lawmaker representing Abia-North senatorial district, described the prison as a learning facility.
“I am not guilty, I am as free as anything,” he said on Friday during his appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today where he responded to questions bordering on corruption allegations against him.
“They put me in prison to the glory of God and Nigerian people should thank them because I am better off today being there.
“I lost nothing, I went there to learn, it was a learning institution, and every politician and every civil servant needs to go there and learn; they will have another perspective of life.”
Blessing, Not Setback
A Federal High Court in Lagos had sentenced Kalu to 12 years imprisonment in a judgement delivered in December 2019.
But the judgment was later nullified by a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict in May 2020.
Declaring the conviction of the former governor null and void, the apex court had held that Justice Mohammed Idris was already a justice of the Court of Appeal as of the time he delivered the judgment sentencing Kalu.
Barely a month after, Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered the release of Kalu from the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.
During Friday’s interview, the lawmaker alleged that some persons, including a former president, were responsible for his predicaments.
Rather than being sad for going to prison, he stressed that his detention for about six months was a blessing to him and an opportunity to view life from a totally different perspective.
“The average Nigerian knows that I have committed no offence,” said Kalu who insisted that he is not corrupt. “There were 19 witnesses in court, and nobody mentioned my name, and somebody paid somebody to put me in jail for six months, and I thank God I went.
“It was a glorious thing; that is the best thing God has ever done to me, to be able to put me in the lowest end of the world. Mind you, I was meant to be in Wuhan on December 9, 2019, and the people put me in jail on December 5; it is to the glory of God.”