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Kogi Governor Usman Ododo Aids Former Governor Yahaya Bello’s Escape from EFCC Arrest

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Kogi State Governor Usman Ododo intervened on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, to prevent the arrest of Yahaya Bello, former governor of Kogi State, by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The current governor arrived with a heavy security detail at Bello’s residence around 2:30 pm, under the watchful eyes of journalists and local witnesses.

Approximately two hours later, Ododo’s convoy was seen leaving the premises, this time with Yahaya Bello in tow, sparking suspicions of a coordinated escape. Shortly after their departure, EFCC operatives, who had been laying siege outside Bello’s home on Benghazi Street in Wuse Zone 4, withdrew from the scene.

According to sources at the site, there was significant law enforcement presence around Bello’s residence, including policemen and operatives from the Department of State Security and the Counter Terrorism Unit. These forces also vacated the area shortly after the retreat of the EFCC team.

An anonymous EFCC source expressed frustration over the incident, stating, “Bello has escaped with the Kogi State Governor, Ododo. Our operatives could not stop the governor.”

This comment highlights the complexities faced by the EFCC in enforcing actions against high-profile political figures.

Earlier in the day, there was a standoff involving EFCC operatives and a group of armed men dressed in black labeled “Special Forces,” alongside officers of the Nigeria Police Force, who were reportedly preventing the arrest of Bello.

The situation raises questions about the use of state power and the implications for the rule of law in Nigeria, particularly in cases involving political figures and corruption allegations.

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

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has ceased its surveillance of Yahaya Bello, immediate past governor of Kogi State, following a court directive.

EFCC personnel, who had been stationed outside Bello’s residence at No 9 Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja, to arrest him reportedly, 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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