A 56-year-old man, Clinton Kanu, has said he will demand a N20bn compensation for spending 27 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.
Kanu, who was sentenced to death in 1992 for murder, was freed by the Supreme Court on April 5, 2019.
The Okigwe, Imo State-born consultant criminologist explained that though he made efforts to absolve himself from a gang-up that led to his incarceration, nobody was ready to listen to him until he was jailed.
While in prison, Kanu lost his mother; coupled with the fact that he was not married, he said he fought loneliness.
Kanu, who recounted the incident that led to his travail, said, “About 27 years ago, some people were accused of stealing a generator and fluorescent tubes; they were my in-laws.
“After a court decided the case, we suddenly heard that somebody was killed in the compound where my sister married. I was arrested because those behind my ordeal thought I was trying to resolve a land dispute in favour of one person.
“I was taken to the Okigwe Police Station and later transferred to Owerri, where I was charged to court in April 1992. I was detained in the Owerri prison. I was at the tribunal for seven years because those behind my ordeal included armed robbery to the case. They believed I was a strong man and wanted to tie me down.
“They brought false witnesses to testify against me at the tribunal. I was later taken to a regular court where I was condemned to death. From Owerri, I was transferred to the Port Harcourt prison. At the Port Harcourt prison, I waited for many years for the hangman’s noose.
“I went to the Appeal Court to appeal the case, but my lawyer messed it up. Then I decided to proceed to the Supreme Court, where after 27 years in prison, I was vindicated. I was detained for nothing for 27 years; I was discharged and acquitted on April 5, 2019.”
Speaking to our correspondent on Saturday, Kanu argued that he would demand N20bn compensation from the Federal Government and his state (Imo State) for the damage done to his business.
He also stated that he developed ill health due to the prison’s dirty environment, adding that with the help of his lawyer, he hoped to be well compensated.
“It seems as if everything collapsed on my head; I don’t know where to start from. My head is jam-packed with thoughts and I need to ask God to direct me. I really need help.
“I am considering asking for compensation from the Federal Government and my state. I want this legal parochialism and injustice to stop.
“When you talk about the damage done to my business and to my health, due to the prison’s dirty environment, and a lot of other things that have gone wrong, if I put my losses in billions, I don’t think it is out of place.
“The money is just to make me solve my problems and get back to normal life. I will ask for N20bn compensation,” Kanu said.
He thanked his church and some relatives who had been feeding and accommodating him since he left prison last Tuesday.