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  • Crime
  • Updated: June 13, 2024

Court adjourns Yahaya Bello’s arraignment until June 27

Court adjourns Yahaya Bello’s arraignment until June 27

A Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned the arraignment of former Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello until June 27.

The decision was made by Justice Emeka Nwite, SAN, following a request from Bello’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, who informed the court that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s, EFCC, lead counsel, Kemi Pinhero, SAN, had previously indicated that the proceeding on Thursday would not be convenient.

When the case was called, Adedipe expressed surprise at the presence of EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo in court.

He explained that there had been an agreement between the defense and prosecution that junior lawyers would be sent to pick a new date, based on Pinhero’s earlier indication that the current date was inconvenient.

This situation appeared to stem from a miscommunication between Pinhero and Oyedepo.

Adedipe mentioned that Pinhero had approached the defense lead lawyer, Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN, through a junior lawyer, suggesting that the scheduled hearing would not be feasible. Consequently, the court adjourned the matter to June 27.
 
He said: “And as senior counsel, it was best agreed by way of convenient for another date.

“It was agreed administratively that junior lawyers be sent to court today to formally take a date as agreed by parties for June 27.

“I personally also approached the registry to confirm this information and it was confirmed to me. That was why I told the court that my appearance today is for another matter.

“What the prosecution has done this morning is an ambush to bring the defendant once again to the realms of social media.”

He insisted that it was at Pehinro’s behest that the matter be adjourned until June 27 for arraignment.

He said that for the decision of the EFCC to seek an adjournment to a future date for his arraignment, the ex-governor was ready to appear in court today.

“Under 266 of ACJA, there are instances when defendants don’t need to come and this is one of them.

“We came here to pick a date. Of what use will the defendant coming here be? It is the prosecuting counsel that approached us, we did not approach them. We have nothing to hide,” Adedipe said.

Responding, Oyedepo disagreed with Adedipe.

He said he was not aware of any meeting that happened between their lead counsel and the defence.

However, a senior lawyer, Simon Lough, who came for another matter, stood up to intervene.

He said it was unnecessary for senior counsel to be attacking each other in court on a simple matter.

He said since Adedipe had explained why the defendant was not in court, a new date should be agreed on.

Lough said at the new date, the court could inquire from the prosecution lead counsel on what transpired.

He advised the lawyers to stop the argument in order not to waste the time of the court on other matters.

Justice Nwite thereafter adjourned the case to June 27

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