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“Ex-Gov Bello Skips Court Appearance as EFCC Considers Military Aid for Arrest”

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) informed the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday that it is determined to arrest and prosecute former Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, for his alleged involvement in money laundering. The EFCC stated that it would not hesitate to execute the arrest warrant issued against Bello, even if it requires military intervention.

The anti-graft agency’s legal team, led by Mr. Kemi Pinhero, SAN, expressed concern that the former governor did not appear for his scheduled arraignment. The EFCC recounted that attempts to arrest Bello on Wednesday were thwarted by an individual with immunity who intervened to prevent the arrest.

The EFCC’s lawyer stressed that if necessary, the agency would request military assistance to bring Bello to court, citing the importance of upholding the constitution. He criticized the former governor for allegedly attempting to delay his trial with frivolous legal challenges, suggesting that if Bello believes he is innocent, he should present his defense in court.

In response, Bello’s legal team, led by Mr. Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN, argued that the former governor had secured an order from a Kogi State High Court on February 9, which restrained the EFCC from arresting or prosecuting him on the current charges. Mohammed claimed that the EFCC’s actions were in defiance of that order.

The former governor’s legal team also challenged the EFCC’s decision to file charges against Bello, arguing that the agency should wait for the appeal against the restraining order to be resolved. Mohammed criticized the EFCC for obtaining an ex-parte arrest warrant while the case was still pending before another court.

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As the legal battle continues, Bello’s lawyers have filed a preliminary objection to contest the legitimacy of his planned arraignment and trial. They argue that the court should first rule on its jurisdiction to hear the case before proceeding further.

Overall, the EFCC remains committed to arresting and prosecuting former Governor Bello, while his legal team maintains that the agency’s actions violate a standing court order.