Godiya Akwashiki, spokesman of the senate, says the upper legislative house does not have any reason to declare the seat of Orji Uzor Kalu, senator representing Abia north, vacant, adding that it would be illegal to do so.
Akwashiki said there is no where in the constitution that provides that a seat of a lawmaker should be declared vacant because he is facing prosecution.
Last week, Kalu, current chief whip of the senate, was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for diverting N7 billion from the coffers of Abia state.
He was convicted alongside Jones Udeogu, a former director of finance and account in the Abia government house, Punch reports.
However, the senate spokesman said the convict still has an opportunity to appeal the case.
“The senate has no reason to declare his seat vacant. This is not the first time that such a thing would happen,” Akwashiki said.
“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.”
When asked if Kalu will keep receiving salaries and allowances, the senate spokesman said the national assembly bureaucracy “determines the payment of senators based on the template from the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission.”