The Senate has ruled out the possibility of declaring vacant, the seat of its Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, following a Lagos state High Court verdict.
Reacting to the judgement by the Southwestern court, the red chamber through its spokesman, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, said declaring Kalu’s seat vacant was not possible.
He said such option would only be considered after the former governor of Abia had explored all the legal options available to him “without success”.
Naijatell reports that Senator Orji Kalu has 21 days window to appeal the judgement of the lower court in an appellate court, such as the Appeal and Supreme Courts.
According to Akwashiki, “the constitution of Nigeria does not mandate the Senate President to unilaterally declare the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted by a lower court, vacant.
“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,” the Senate spokesman added.