EFCC operatives storm ex-Governor Yahaya Bello’s house


EFCC barricades ex-Governor Yahaya Bello’s Abuja home

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday stormed the Abuja home of a former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

The ex-governor’s home is located at Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Federal Capital Territory.

It was gathered that EFCC operatives arrived the house at about 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday in a bid to effect his arrest.

They later mounted a barricade on the street passing in front of the house, which drew a crowd to the house.

EFCC has yet to comment on the situation around the house which has remained the same as of the time of filing this report at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the media office of the former governor in a statement, condemned the operatives’ actions while urging President Bola Tinubu to caution the anti-graft agency.

According to the statement, the presence of the operatives in Bello’s residence negated the order of injunction granted on February 9, 2024, by the High Court of Justice, Lokoja Division, in Suit No. HCL/68M/2024 between Yahaya Bello v. EFCC, restraining the commission either by itself or its agents from harassing, arresting, detaining, or prosecuting him, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive fundamental rights enforcement action.

The statement read, “The EFCC was duly served with that order on February 12, 2024, and on February 26, 2024, the EFCC filed an appeal (Appeal No.: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission v. Alhaji Yahaya Bello) against the said order to the Court of Appeal Abuja Division. The appeal was accompanied by a Motion for a Stay of Execution of the order of the High Court, which the Court of Appeal adjourned for hearing till April 22, 2024.

“Furthermore, judgment in the substantive case between Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the EFCC will be delivered at 12 noon today in Lokoja.

“Contrary to all of the above, the EFCC has now laid siege to the home of H.E Yahaya Bello, seeking to arrest him in contravention of the extant orders!

“It is a surprise that an agency led by a lawyer could flagrantly disobey a subsisting court order by taking actions contrary to the reliefs granted.

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“We are aware of the total commitment of President Bola Tinubu’s current administration to the rule of law and can say categorically that the EFCC leadership might have offered the agency on a platter of gold to desperate politicians to convert it to their score-settling tool without minding the effect on its integrity and the image of Nigeria as regards the rule of law.”

The ex-governor’s media office further alleged that the anti-graft agency was plotting to embarrass and harass him through spurious allegations, especially the latest one dating back to September 2015, long before he assumed office.

EFCC had filed a N10 billion corruption charges against Ali Bello, Bello’s nephew and the newly appointed chief of staff to Usman Ododo, governor of Kogi, and a co-defendant for money laundering at the Federal High Court in Abuja.in 2022.

Days after he finished his tenure, the EFCC on 5 February, amended the charges, raising the number of counts from 10 to 17 against the younger Bello and his co-defendant, Dauda Suleiman, in a trial that dates back to 2022.

The prosecution named Mr Bello in one of the newly-introduced counts as an accomplice. But the agency has yet to charge him as a defendant.

The anti-graft agency, in the 17-count amended charge, accused Yahaya Bello of money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N84,062,406,089.88.

The EFCC had claimed in the amended charge that the former governor was at large.

However, the state government faulted the charge, describing it as “ridiculous” and “laughable,” adding that it was impossible, as the former governor was not yet able to access or misappropriate state funds at the said time.

The state government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, had on February 7, 2024, accused the EFCC of being “infested with persons whose intents disagree with the noble intention of ‘Mr. President’ to defeat corruption in Nigeria.”

Count one of the charges reads: “That you, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, Yahaya Adoza Bello (still at large) and Abdulsalam Hudu (still at large), sometime in September, 2015 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to convert the total sum of N80,246,470,089.88 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(b) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended,” the EFCC said in a release sent to SaharaReporters.

“While ex-Governor Yahaya Bello and Hudu are still at large, Ali Bello and Suleiman, first and second defendants respectively, who were present in court “pleaded not guilty” to all the charges when they were read to them.

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