Nigerian Govt Places Ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello on Watchlist

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Yahaya Bello, the former Governor of Kogi State, has been placed under surveillance by the Federal Government.

Security agencies across the country have been informed, and the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, has been instructed to apprehend him at any point of entry or exit.

This information was shared in a memo by the Comptroller General of Immigration Service, Kemi Nanna Nandap, addressed to the Director General of the Department of State Services, DSS, the Inspector General of Police, and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA.

The memo, signed by ACI DS Umar, contained the specifics of Bello’s international passport.

It read in part:
I am directed to inform you that the above named person has been placed on watch list.
“Suffice to mention that the subject is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court Abuja for Conspiracy, Breach of Trust and Money Laundering vide letter Ref; CR; 3000/EFCC/LS/EGCS.1/TE/V1/279 dated 18 April 2024. If seen at any entry or exit point, he should be arrested and referred to the Director of Investigation or contact 08036226329/07039617304 for further action.
“Please accept as always the Comptroller General warmest regards and esteem.”
This comes after Yahaya Bello, the former governor of Kogi State, called on President Bola Tinubu to step in and restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after they attempted to arrest him at his Abuja residence.Bello urged Tinubu to caution the agency for disregarding a valid court order and humiliating him “at all costs”. This plea came after EFCC operatives besieged his residence in Abuja, disrupting vehicular movement in the vicinity.

In a statement released by his Media Office, the ex-governor expressed his disappointment with EFCC’s actions, citing a court order issued on February 9, 2024, by the Kogi State High Court in Suit No. HCL/68M/2024 between Alhaji Yahaya Bello and EFCC.

The court order specifically prohibited EFCC, or any of its representatives, from harassing, arresting, detaining, or prosecuting him until the substantive fundamental rights enforcement action is heard and determined.

The statement reads: 

“About 9:30 am today, the 17th day of April 2024, persons who described themselves as officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrived the Wuse Zone 4 Residence of His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello to effect his arrest.

“This is despite a subsisting Order of injunction granted on 9th February 2024 by the High Court of Justice, Lokoja Division in Suit No. HCL/68M/2024 between Alhaji Yahaya Bello v. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, restraining the Commission either by itself or its agents from harassing, arresting, detaining or prosecuting Alhaji Yahaya Bello, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive fundamental rights enforcement action.

“The EFCC was duly served with that Order on 12th February 2024 and on 26th February 2024; the EFCC filed an Appeal (Appeal No.: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission v. Alhaji Yahaya Bello) against the said Order to the Court of Appeal Abuja division. The Appeal was accompanied by a Motion for Stay of Execution of the Order of the High Court which the Court of Appeal adjourned for hearing till the 22nd day of April 2024.

“Furthermore, Judgement in the substantive case between Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the EFCC is to be delivered at 12 Noon today in Lokoja.

“Contrary to all of the above, the EFCC has now laid siege to the home of H.E Yahaya Bello seeking to arrest him in contravention of the extant orders!

“It is a surprise that an agency led by a lawyer could flagrantly disobey a subsisting court order by taking actions contrary to the reliefs granted.

“We are aware of the total commitment of the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the rule of law and can say categorically that the leadership of the EFCC might have offered the agency on a platter of gold to desperate politicians to convert to their score settling tool without minding the effect on its integrity and the image of Nigeria as regards the rule of law.

“A situation where law enforcers disregard the rule of law is a definite recipe for anarchy, which will adversely affect every aspect of the nation’s economy.

“Nigerians have perceived the desperation of the anti-graft agency to embarrass and harass the former Governor by all means through spurious allegations, especially the latest one dating back to September 2015, way before he assumed office.

“We are aware that there are clandestine moves to correct the error, but with even more questionable allegations, which would embarrass the Commission and Nigeria more than the initial one.

“It is unfortunate that an agency that is supposed to enforce the law is now the first culprit with respect to disobedience of court orders. This is a big dent on the fight against corruption. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

“We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to call the EFCC to order in the interest of legal sanity.”

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