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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Nigeria’s Attonery-General Urges Yahaya Bello to Submit to EFCC Authority

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Lateef Fagbemi, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, has made a public appeal to Yahaya Bello, the immediate-past governor of Kogi State, urging him to submit himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for investigation over alleged corrupt practices during his tenure.

This call comes amidst escalating tensions and dramatic scenes as the EFCC attempts to arrest Bello.

In a statement released on Thursday, April 18, 2024, which the AGF personally signed, Fagbemi emphasized that the EFCC is legally empowered to summon any Nigerian for questioning, regardless of their status.

He expressed deep concern over the recent actions of the current Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Ahmed Ododo, who reportedly used his immunity to prevent Bello’s arrest, describing these manoeuvres as “insufferably disquieting.”

“The bizarre drama confronting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the course of its efforts to perform its statutory duty has come to my notice as a matter of very grave concern,” Fagbemi stated.

He criticised the obstruction of justice and highlighted the negative implications such actions could have on Nigeria’s international reputation.

Fagbemi reaffirmed his commitment to the rule of law, stating that while he would intervene if any agency oversteps in infringing on the rights of Nigerians, he firmly believes that state institutions should be allowed to operate without interference.

He underscored the importance of adhering to legal norms and cooperating with law enforcement agencies.

“I, therefore, encourage anyone who has been invited by the EFCC or any other agency to immediately toe the path of decency and civility by honouring such invitation instead of embarking on a temporizing self-help and escapism that can only put our country in bad light before the rest of the world,” he urged.

The situation continues to develop as local and international observers watch closely, waiting to see if Bello will heed the AGF’s call for cooperation.

“The bizarre drama confronting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the course of its efforts to perform its statutory duty has come to my notice (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice) as a matter of very grave concern,” Mr Fagbemi said.

“It is now beyond doubt that the EFCC is given power by the law to invite any person of interest to interact with them in the course of their investigation into any matter regardless of status.

“Therefore, the least that we can all do when invited, is not to put any obstruction in the way of EFCC but to honourably answer their invitation.

“A situation where public officials who are themselves subject of protection by law enforcement agents will set up a stratagem of obstruction to the civil and commendable efforts of the EFCC to perform its duty is to say the least, insufferably disquieting. A flight from the law does not resolve issues at stake but only exacerbates it.

“I state unequivocally that I stand for the rule of law and will promptly call EFCC and indeed any other agency to order when there is indication of any transgression of the fundamental rights of any Nigerian by any of the agencies but I also tenaciously hold the view that institutions of State should be allowed to function effectively and efficiently.

“Nigeria has a vibrant judicial system that is capable of protecting everyone who follows the rule of law in seeking protection.

“I therefore encourage anyone who has been invited by the EFCC or any other agency to immediately toe the path of decency and civility by honouring such invitation instead of embarking on a temporising self-help and escapism that can only put our country in bad light before the rest of the world”.

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