The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received the news of the conviction and sentencing of former governor of Abia state, Senator Orji Uzor to 12 years imprisonment by a Federal High court in Lagos, after being found guilty on all the 39-count charges leveled against him.
In a release issued by CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, and signed by its Coordinator, Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, the anti-corruption body recalled that “Senator Orji Uzor Kalu served as Abia state governor between 1999 and 2007, during which the state experienced little or no tangible developmental achievements even with all the monthly federal allocations received and other sundry sources of funds like IGR (internally generated revenue), etc.
“It was a period noted for backlog of owed salaries, including those in the teaching service while those in government fed fat on resources that could better be used to expand the generating capacity and bring succour to the people through useful diversification of the state agrarian economy.
“Rather than make his government and the entire cabinet accountable and responsive to the yearnings of the electorate, he converted the state’s wealth to personal and family estate through SLOK Nigeria Limited, his personal firm.
“After about 12 (twelve) years, it was as if justice would never be served as the ordinary people of the state, where over N7.65b billion naira was found to have been looted, have been groaning and continue to suffer the devastating effects through substandard education, deteriorating medical facilities, disappearance of pipe borne water, etc.
The body, therefore, considered it a great relief when the senator and his former Director of Finance, Ude Udeogu, were found guilty by the court on all the 39-count charges and ordered to forfeit properties and assets illegally acquired and sentenced to prison terms.
“While we commend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for their meticulous investigation and diligent prosecution, we advise that all the recovered assets, liquid and solid, be returned to their original source to provide immediate relief through service to urgent areas of governance to Abia people, while their prison uniform should be designated ‘Corruption Villains’, with their names and their former positions inscribed on their uniforms within their special cells that should make it possible for school children and other younger generation to pay a scheduled visit and see these convicts of corruption who were formerly in position of authority but recklessly abused same. This would serve as a deterrent and teach a moral lesson to the current and future generations of Nigerians.” CACOL reasoned.