Yahaya Bello: CSOs Wants EFCC Chairman Committed to Prison Over Violation of Court Order

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  • Says antigraft fight fast becoming tool for political witch-hunt.

Civil society organizations under the aegis of Democracy Watchdog (DW) has taken a swipe at the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), urging the court to commit the Commission’s chairman, Ola Olukoyede to prison for violating its order.

This in response to siege laid by officials of the commission at the Abuja residence of the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello on Wednesday, apparently in an effort to arrest him over alleged financial impropriety.

The Democracy Watchdog, comprising of 68 civil society organisations wondered why the Commission will desperately move for the arrest of the Kogi former governor despite a subsisting order of the court.

The order granted since February this year by a High Court of Justice, Lokoja division restrains the anti-graft agency, either by itself or its agents from harassing, arresting, detaining or prosecuting Yahaya Bello pending the hearing and determination of the substantive fundamental rights enforcement action filed before the court.

In a release on Wednesday in Abuja, the Director General of Democracy Watchdog and Convener of the coalition of civil society groups, Omoluabi Bode Adeyemi, expressed fear that Nigeria is descending into anarchy with the untamed lawlessness of the anti-graft agency.

“As campaigners for civility and supremacy of the Rule of Law, we find the irresponsible invasion of former governor Yahaya Bello’s home a direct confrontation against the law. What EFCC did does not only portray it as an organization that has zero regard for our temple of justice but as one working so hard to take us back to the dark days.

“This is even more shocking, taking cognizance of the fact that the Commission was duly served the order on February 12, 2024 and on February 26, 2024. Till date, that order has not been evacuated.

“Instead of getting its act right, the EFCC resorted to self-help by laying siege at the home of a man who should be having a well-deserved rest, having served his people meritoriously.

“Despite visible progress being made by President Bola Tinubu’s administration to strengthen the Rule of Law, the EFCC is bent in thwarting it and making the President appear undemocratic.

“Again, the people of Kogi State have not at any time brought a report against the former governor before the EFCC on any missing fund from the state’s coffers. We therefore wonder, whose interest EFCC is serving.

“It is now visible to the blind and clear to the deaf that EFCC is being sponsored to undermine efforts to strengthen the Rule of Law. As a creation of the law, which wholly relies on the discretion of the court to prosecute the war against graft, the EFCC should not be seen to disrespect the order of the court which it finds unfavourable.

“It is on this premise that we call on the court, to immediately commit the EFCC chairman, Ola Olukoyede to prison in line with the Constitution. This will serve as a deterrence to individuals and organizations who see themselves to be above the law,” the group said.

It also called on the people of Kogi to remain calm, expressing hope that President Bola Tinubu will call the EFCC to order so that the country will not be thrown into anarchy.

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