Why I Didn’t Appear In Court — Yahaya Bello


Apr 23, 2024

Former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has expressed his willingness to appear in court to face the 19-count charge brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Despite his absence during his arraignment, Bello briefed his legal team, who represented him in court on Tuesday. His lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, stated that Bello was hesitant to appear in court due to a pending arrest warrant.

Adedipe requested that the court cancel the ex parte arrest warrant, arguing that Bello had not been properly served with the charges when the warrant was issued. He also pointed out that the court had only authorized substituted service of the charge to be delivered to Bello through his lawyer during Tuesday’s proceedings.

Furthermore, Bello’s legal team argued that the EFCC is an unauthorized body, as the Federal Government failed to consult all 36 states before passing the EFCC Act through the National Assembly. They contended that the Act needed to be ratified by the various Houses of Assembly of states before it could take effect, citing section 12 of the 1999 Constitution.

However, EFCC’s lawyer, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, opposed the application, stating that the arrest warrant should remain valid until Bello is present for his trial. Pinheiro argued that Bello cannot file applications while hiding and must appear in court to request the arrest order to be vacated.

The EFCC’s lawyer emphasized that the court cannot assume jurisdiction to decide any application or objection until Bello is arraigned, citing section 396 of the ACJA, 2015. However, Pinheiro expressed willingness to apply for the warrant to be discharged if Bello’s counsel undertakes to ensure his presence on the next adjourned date.

The EFCC’s charge against Bello pertains to allegations of laundering public funds and purchasing properties both locally and abroad. The case has been adjourned to a later date, pending Bello’s appearance in court.

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