Court can’t prevent EFCC from prosecuting Yahaya Bello — Falana


Human Rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana SAN, on Wednesday, said no court of law can prevent the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from prosecuting the former governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, over alleged theft of N84bn from the coffers of the state.

Falana’s reaction came on the heels of the declaration by the former governor that the EFCC had disobeyed a court order by attempting to arrest him to answer the charge of the alleged N84bn theft.


Falana, in a statement he signed, said the move by the EFCC was tenable as Bello had lost his immunity from arrest and prosecution.


“As a former governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello has lost his immunity from arrest and prosecution. No court can confer a life immunity on a former governor in Nigeria,” Falana asserted.


Speaking further, the human rights lawyer said the Supreme Court had pointed out that the order of a High Court to the effect that a criminal suspect should not be arrested cannot bar a court of coordinate jurisdiction from trying him.

Citing the case of Orji Kalu versus the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2016) 39 WRN 53, where the Appellant challenged the EFCC for charging him before the Federal High Court despite the order of the High Court of Abia State restraining the anti-graft agency from violating his fundamental right to personal liberty.


“In dismissing the appeal, the Supreme Court said that the “gagging order” should not be allowed to stand and that “The suit of the Appellant at Abia State High Court and the general and ambiguous order made therein were clearly intended to ‘muzzle’ or prevent the 1st Respondent from discharging its statutory function,” Falana recalled.

Speaking further, Falana advised that the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, withdraw police officers attached to Bello’s residence.


“Because of the foregoing, the police officers who prevented the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from arresting the suspect have committed a grave criminal offence. The Inspector-General of Police, Dr. Kayode Egbetokun should withdraw the said police officers from the private residence of Mr. Bello without any delay and have them charged for obstruction of justice,” he said.

Operatives of the EFCC on Wednesday barricaded the Abuja home of Bello.


The house of the former governor, who has been having a running battle with the EFCC before finishing his tenure as governor in January, is located on Benghazi Street in Wuse Zone 4, Federal Capital Territory.


The agency’s longtime interest in him led to the filing of N10 billion corruption charges against his nephew, Ali Bello, and a co-defendant for money laundering at the Federal High Court 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 Bello in one of the newly-introduced counts as an accomplice. But the agency has yet to charge him as a defendant.

In the new count, the anti-graft agency accused Bello of money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N84 billion.


It was learnt that EFCC operatives arrived at 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.


The development 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.

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