Stop Media Trial Of Yahaya Bello, Lawyer Tells EFCC

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been asked to refrain from incessant media trials of immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
A legal activist and constitutional lawyer, Wilfred Molokun, said the EFCC in an attempt to arrest and arraign Bello has engaged in a media trial.
He said it is absurd for an agency charged with responsibility for the enforcement of all economic and financial crimes laws to throw overboard the rule of law in its desperation to “persecute, prosecute and humiliate a former governor”.
Molokun a legal practitioner of over three decades in practice made the call while fielding questions on the judgement of Kogi State High Court delivered on April 17 , 2024 by Justice Isa Jamil Abdullahi, who granted an order restraining the EFCC “from continuing to harass, threaten to arrest or detain” Bello based on the criminal charges now pending before the federal high court in Abuja.
He said decorum and decency should be the order of the day, stressing that EFCC should allow the trial court judge of the Federal High Court who is seized of the matter to make a ruling on Bello application seeking to vacate the warrant of arrest, essentially as the court has now been adequately addressed by both parties on the issues.
According to him, the rule of law should reign supreme in the conduct of citizens including corporate bodies like EFCC.
Recall that the Federal High Court had fixed May 10 for ruling on Yahaya Bello’s application seeking to vacate the arrest warrant made on April 17, 2024.
Bello’s application was argued on April 23, 2024 before justice Emeka Nwite by Adeola Adedipe, SAN, while Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, who represented the EFCC vehemently opposed it.
In his argument, Adedipe had pointed out the need for the court to set aside the arrest warrant.
According to the Senior Advocate, the arrest warrant order, having been made before the charge ought to be set aside suo motu (on its own accord, without any request by the parties involved).
Particularly, as the agency had on April 18, made an application for a substituted service of its bundles of charge and proof of evidence against Bello after the ex-governor’s lead lawyer, Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN, declined to receive the documents in the open court.
The senior lawyer further argued that contrary to Pinheiro’s submission that the ex-governor must be in court first before any application could be entertained being a criminal case, the anti-graft agency had made an application on April 18 after the warrant of arrest was issued to EFCC on April 17 and that the court granted it.
Adedipe said the complainant made an application for substituted service on 18th day of April after the arrest warrant had been issued on 17th day of April and the judge granted it.
The defendant counsel said, “The court must satisfy itself that the defendant (Bello) will not be prejudiced in fairness if the warrant of arrest continues to hang on his neck, having been made before service of the charge contrary to Section 394 of ACJA.”


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