Drama, confusion over Yahaya Bello!

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*Abuja Court orders ex-gov Bello’s arrest over alleged N84bn money laundering

*While Kogi High Court restrains EFCC from arresting him over same offence

*As operatives of EFCC storm Bello’s Abuja home, ex-gov kicks

*He’s accused of money laundering, breach of trust amounting to N84bn

By Kenneth Atavti and Friday Idachaba, Lokoja

There was confusion at the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, as the court ordered the arrest of the immediate-past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, for arraignment in court on Thursday.

However, the judgement came shortly after the Kogi State High Court in Lokoja earlier on Wednesday gave a judgement restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from harassing, detaining or prosecuting the former Governor.

Justice I.A Jamil of the State High Court gave the restraining order in a two-hour judgement delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020 in Lokoja at about 12pm Wednesday.

“By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant,” he said.

Hours later, the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the arrest of the ex-governor Bello for arraignment in court on Thursday.

This was in spite of an existing restraining order and a court judgement against such move by a High Court sitting in Kogi state.

The EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22. (Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission v. Alhaji Yahaya Bello).

Justice Emeka Nwite, who gave the order of arrest, said that by the Act establishing the EFCC, it had the power to arrest with or without a warrant of arrest.

He said that the EFCC “had tried” to serve him with notice of arraignment.

Embattled Yahaya Bello’s Media Office had in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed on Wednesday alerted the nation to a siege on the former governor’s Abuja residence.

In a related development, Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC yesterday, stormed the Abuja residence of the embattled former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello located in Wuse Zone 4, Federal Capital Territory.

Photographs seen by our Correspondent on Wednesday show some armed EFCC personnel laying siege to the ex-governor’s home on Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

As of press time, our correspondent could not independently confirm the reason behind the siege on Bello’s home as the spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, did not respond to inquiries concerning the development.

However, the EFCC had earlier dragged Yahaya Bello, his nephew Ali, one Dauda Sulaiman and Abdulsalam Hudu before Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in an amended charge in March 2024 over an alleged N84bn money laundering.

Reacting to the development, the ex-governor’s media office, in a statement, condemned the operatives’ actions while urging President Bola Tinubu to caution the EFCC.

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 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 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, 20.

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