Yahaya Bello: Thread softly, Arewa group tells EFCC  

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to thread with caution regard unconfirmed allegations of corruption against the immediate past Governor of Kogi State Yahaya Bello. 

The forum averred that, the fact that the case is already in court awaiting determination, the anti-graft agency should not take the laws into their hands, making all efforts to tarnish the image of the former governor despite not being convicted of any offence.

“We are worried on whose authority or interest the anti graft agency is carrying out their actions despite the disclosure by the Kogi State government that no money is missing” the forum stressed.

A statement issued by the President General of the forum Yerima Shettima said, the invasion of the former governor’s Abuja residence by the operatives was contrary to a subsisting court order granted February 9, 2024 by the Kogi State High Court of Justice, Lokoja Division, in Suit No. HCL/68M/2024 between Alhaji Yahaya Bello Vs. 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 forum further noted that, espite a subsisting Order of injunction granted on 9th February 2024 by the High Court of Justice, Lokoja Division in Suit No. HCL/68M/2024 between Alhaji Yahaya Bello v. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, restraining the Commission either by itself or its agents from harassing, arresting, detaining or prosecuting Alhaji Yahaya Bello, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive fundamental rights enforcement action.

It stressed that the EFCC was duly served with that Order on 12th February 2024 and on 26th February 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 Stay of Execution of the Order of the High Court which the Court of Appeal adjourned for hearing till the 22nd day of April 2024.

AYCF said, it is unfair that contrary to all of the above, the EFCC decided to lay siege at the home of the former Governor seeking to arrest him in contravention of the extant orders!

“We perceive the desperation of the anti-graft agency to embarrass and harass the former Governor by all means through spurious allegations, especially the latest one dating back to September 2015, way before he assumed office.

“We are aware that there are clandestine moves to correct the error, but with even more questionable allegations, which would embarrass the Commission and Nigeria more than the initial one,” the group said.

Shettima described as unfortunate that an agency that is supposed to enforce the law is now the first culprit with respect to disobedience of court orders, adding that, “this is a big dent on the fight against corruption. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

“We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to call the EFCC to order in the interest of legal sanity because we are not in banana Republic where anything goes.”

AYCF further called on the EFCC to ensure that the fundamental right of the former governor is respected to the later, stressing “we are watching with keen interest”.