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Court Orders Halt EFCC Siege Against Immediate Past Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has ceased surveilling Yahaya Bello, immediate past governor of Kogi State, following a court directive.

EFCC personnel, who had reportedly been stationed outside Bello’s residence at No 9 Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja, to arrest him, withdrew on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, afternoon.

The removal of EFCC operatives came shortly after a visit from the current governor of Kogi, Usman Ododo, who arrived at the premises around 2:30 PM and left around 4:30 PM.

It remains unclear whether Governor Ododo’s visit influenced the decision or timing of the EFCC’s withdrawal.

The cessation of the EFCC’s action was precipitated by a court order issued by the High Court in Lokoja.

The court, presided over by Justice I.A Jamil, delivered a two-hour judgment, ruling that the EFCC cannot arrest, detain, or prosecute Bello, respecting his fundamental human rights.

This judgment enforces a definitive order following an earlier interim injunction, effectively restraining the EFCC from any form of prosecution or persecution of the former governor.

This case, suit no HCL/68/M/2020, was brought forward by Bello, seeking to enforce his fundamental rights against potential legal actions by the EFCC.

The judgment also addressed and dismissed the EFCC’s challenge regarding the court’s jurisdiction over the case, reinforcing the court’s authority to issue its ruling.

Counsel for the applicant, SA Abbas and MS Yusuf, hailed the judgment as a landmark victory.

Similarly, the defendant’s counsel, T.U Odima and Patrick O. Jibril, recognized the thoroughness of the judgment, aligning themselves with its conclusions.

This legal shield granted to Bello by the High Court introduces significant complexities to the ongoing efforts by the EFCC to address allegations of fraud linked to his tenure as governor of Kogi State.

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