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  • Politics
  • Updated: April 18, 2024

Court order can’t prevent EFCC from prosecuting Yahaya Bello, Falana clarifies

Court order can’t prevent EFCC from prosecuting Yahaya Bel

Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN has declared that no court of law can prevent the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), from prosecuting the immediate past former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, over alleged money laundering to the tune of N80,246,470,088.88

Falana’s declaration was in reaction to Bello’s statement that the EFCC had disobeyed a court order by attempting to arrest him to answer the charge for money laundering.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Falana said the move by the EFCC was tenable as Bello had lost his immunity from arrest and prosecution.

Falana said: “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.”

He 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.

He cited 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.

He noted that “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.”

“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 asserted.

It will be recalled that the EFCC, on Wednesday,  stormed the Abuja residence of Bello located in the Wuse Zone 4 in a move to effect his arrest.

He will be arraigned today before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

He is to be arraigned before Justice Emeka Nwite alongside three other suspects, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu on 19- count charges bordering on money laundering.

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