Combine Photos of Ex-Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello and the EFCC
Combine Photos of Ex-Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello and the EFCC

The legal tussle over the legality of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) having the power to arraign former Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello for alleged N80.2 billion fraud will begin today at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the appellate court is expected to hear EFCC’s application seeking to set aside the interim injunction of a High Court in Kogi barring the commission from arresting the former governor.

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NAN also reports that Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja is expected to deliver a ruling tomorrow on EFCC’s request for the court to grant an order to effect substituted service of the charge on Bello.

Justice Isa Abdullahi of a Kogi High Court, on February 9, gave an interim order restraining the EFCC from taking any action against Bello, pending the determination of the substantive matter.
But the EFCC later approached the Court of Appeal on March 11, asking the appellate court to set aside the interim restraining order.


The commission informed the appellate court that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to assist Bello to escape prosecution for his alleged offence.
It averred that Bello could not use the lower court to escape invitation, investigation, and possible prosecution.

But hearing of the EFCC’s appeal over the interim order will also face a fierce legal argument as the Kogi High Court on April 17 delivered its substantive judgment in the matter.

The court directed the commission to seek the leave of the Court of Appeal before taking further steps against Bello.

This development indicates that the EFCC will have to appeal against the fresh substantive judgment, get the appellate court’s pronouncement before it can proceed with any action against Bello.

Also, in the ensuing altercations between the former governor and the EFCC, some Nigerians have faulted the commission’s propriety to prosecute the former governor.

Others, however, said Bello should submit himself for the commission’s scrutiny, if he has nothing to hide.

Groups that have condemned the EFCC for allegedly witch-hunting Bello include the North Central Integrity Group and the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL).

Also, some APC chieftains, including the Chairman of Tinubu Media Support Group (TMSG), Jesutega Onokpasa, as well as Abubarkar Iliyasu and Comrade Felix Etedjere, urged sitting governors, former governors and politically exposed persons to stand against what they called the unjust persecution of Yahaya Bello.

The APC chieftains, who spoke yesterday in Abuja through Onokpasa, described Bello’s travail as a coordinated witch-hunt.

He said: “The remedy against an order of court is to vacate the order or to appeal the same and most certainly not for law enforcement to thump its nose against the court and decompose into lawlessness and brigandage…

But the Network of Professional Kogi State Youths urged Bello to submit himself to the EFCC for trial over N80 billion money laundering charges levelled against him.

In a statement by its spokesman Abdulquadri Shuaibu, the network said frowned at Bello’s alleged disregard for the rule of law, including evasion of a lawful arrest.

It described the former governor’s action as “regrettable, disgraceful and embarrassing”.

“As a united Coalition representing the citizens of Kogi State, we issue a 24-hour ultimatum to Governor Yahaya Bello to vacate the Government House and surrender to the EFCC or the nearest Police Station. Failure to comply, we will occupy the Government House in a mega protest to ensure Governor Bello’s accountability and safeguard the integrity of our judicial system,” the statement said.

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