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Alleged N80bn fraud: Why we are yet to arrest Yahaya Bello – EFCC

THE Regional Director of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Benin, Edo State, Effa Okim, has given reasons why the agency is yet to arrest former Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, months after declaring him wanted.

He said the EFCC had been unable to arrest Bello due to the protection he is receiving from certain people.

However, he did not disclose the name of the persons allegedly protecting the former governor.

Okim said this on Wednesday, June 12, at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Delta State Council while fielding questions from journalists on why the EFCC had yet to arrest Bello weeks after he was declared wanted.

“That politically-exposed Yahaya Bello, whose crime has been traced to him by allegation and has been invited by EFCC to come and explain, and for months he is acting drama; we are all here wanting to ask questions. The shame is our own shame! “Can’t we catch him? We can, but do we go all out to catch him? Do we need to do that when he has his masters? Can’t they call him and tell him, ‘You are disgracing Nigeria’? What are you telling the world?

“Tell him to go and explain himself like others have done. Where are the ministers? Where are Yahaya Bello’s colleagues, even in his hiding? So, Nigerians can’t tell him ‘This is not fair, go and report; they are not going to kill you’. But people are still eating and dining with him,” an enraged Okim stated.

According to Okim, Bello, who is accused of N80.2 billion fraud, has ridiculed the Nigerian justice system by failing to present himself for trial in court.

The  EFCC declared Bello wanted in April and requested anybody with information on his whereabouts to report to the commission or the nearest police station.

This came a few hours after the commission told the Federal High Court in Abuja that it would do everything possible to arrest and prosecute him.

The ICIR reported that a Federal High Court in Abuja on May 10 refused to revoke the arrest warrant on Bello over the corruption case.

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 The High Court Judge Emeka Nwite gave the ruling after hearing an application by the EFCC that preliminary objections by the former governor should not be heard until he shows up to defend the 19-count charge against him.

The judge ruled in favour of the EFCC, stating that no application would be heard from Bello’s legal team until he appeared in court.




     

     

    He held that the commission’s requests were “meritorious and granted as prayed.”

    He described Bello’s refusal to appear in court as a deliberate attempt at frustrating the case.

    Meanwhile, at the resumed hearing on Thursday, June 13, a new date of June 27 was fixed for hearing of the case.

    Bello’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe, told the court that the EFCC lawyers approached the counsel for the defendant, Aliyu  Wahab, and informed him that the June 13 date would not be convenient for them to proceed and that Wahab had to agree for another date to be set.

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    Bankole Abe
    Reporter at ICIR | [email protected] | Author Page

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