Yahaya Bello vs EFCC: Group Writes NJC Over Alleged Abuse of Office by Kogi Judge

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The Northern Ethnic Youth Group Assembly (NEYGA) has asked the National Judicial Council (NJC) to investigate Justice Isah Abdullahi Jamil of the Kogi State High Court, Lokoja Judicial Division, over alleged abuse of office and powers in a case involving the former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This was made known in a statement issued by spokesperson of NEYGA, Dan Musa, in Abuja on Saturday.

The group posited that orders granted by Justice Jamil were not only illegal but constitute a gross abuse of judicial process and powers in the light of judicial decisions.

The argued that the injunction granted by the judge is a daring slap on the face of the Supreme Court, the constitution and the judiciary and he should be punished to deter others from following the same steps.

The statement read: “There are at least five (5) settled principles of law violated by the interim injunction:

“First, the High Court of Kogi State lacks the requisite jurisdiction to entertain any subject matter or question relating to:

“The administration, management or control of the Federal Government or any of its agencies, including the EFCC and ICPC;

“The operation and interpretation of the Constitution in so far as it affects the Federal Government or any of its agencies and

“Any action or proceeding for a declaration, order or injunction affecting the validity of any executive or administrative action or decision by the Federal Government or any of its agencies.

“By virtue of Section 251 (1) (p), (q) and (r) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the jurisdiction over the subject matter listed in the preceding paragraph is conferred EXCLUSIVELY on the Federal High Court. For ease of reference, the following cases are apt: NEPA v. Edegbero (2002) 18 NWLR (Pt. 798) 69; Benson Agbule v. Warri Refinery & Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (2013) 6 NWLR (Pt. 798) 78; Olutola v. University of Ilorin (2005) 3 MJSC 151 at Pp. 173-174; Inegbedion v. Selo-Ojemen & Anor (2013) All FWLR (Pt. 688) 907 at Pp. 922-923 and very recently, John Shoy International Limited v. Federal Housing Authority (Unreported Appeal No. SC. 98/2005) delivered July 2016 by the Supreme Court.

“It is beyond argument that the suit instituted by the wanted Yahaya Bello who is on the run and the orders made by Justice Isah Abdullahi Jamil clearly offends the provisions 251 (1) (p), (q) and (r) of the Constitution and the Supreme Court authorities cited supra.

“The subject matter in the case relates to the operation and interpretation of the Constitution as it affects the EFCC and ICPC (both of which are agencies of the Federal Government).

“The interim injunction affects the validity of the administrative actions of the anti-corruption agencies. The law is now firmly established that proceedings no matter how well conducted and orders made by a court without jurisdiction are a nullity. The locus classicus on this is Madukolo v. Nkemdilim (1962) 2 SCNLR 341.

“On the power of Federal law enforcement agencies to investigate state government, this is an issue resolved by the Supreme Court in the case of Attorney General of Ondo State v. Attorney General of the Federation (2002) 9 NWLR (Pt.772) 2222.

“Relying on Sections 4 (4) and 15 (5) and items 60 (a) and 67 of the First Schedule to the Constitution and other enabling provisions, the Apex Court upheld, validated and sustained the ICPC and its establishment Act and dismissed the arguments canvassed by Ondo State. This decision was followed consistently in subsequent cases on the subject.

“The power to prosecute economic crimes is exclusive to the Federal Government. It is not shared with the States. See the Supreme Court decision in Nyame v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2010) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1193) 344.

“In the Amadi v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2008) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1119) 259 at 276, Muktar, JSC (as he then was) held that: ‘Indeed, the EFCC is a common agency for both the Federal and State Economic and Financial Crimes’.

“In the light of the position of the law as encapsulated above, it is most shocking, regrettable and embarrassing that Alhaji Yahaya Bello , who until January 27th, 2024 was the chief Executive of Kogi State by virtue of Section 195 of the Constitution purported to set “a precedent” over an issue that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has settled.

“The injunction granted by Justice Isah Abdullahi Jamil is a daring slap on the face of the Supreme Court, the constitution and the Judiciary and should be punish to deter others from following the same steps.”

On Thursday, Justice Isa Abdullahi Jamil ordered the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, to appear in court on May 13, 2024, for allegedly disobeying court order.

Justice Jamil, delivering a ruling in Suit No: HCL/68M/2024 and Motion No: HCL/190M/2024, ordered that “the said act was carried out by the Respondent (EFCC) in violation of the order, which was valid and subsisting when they carried out the act. That same act of the Respondent amounts to Contempt.”

Justice Jamil’s order was based on a motion ex-parte filed by Yahaya Bello through his lawyer, M.S. Yusuf, Esq, where he prayed the court for an order to issue and serve the Respondent (EFCC Chairman) with Form 49 Notice to show cause why Order of committal should not be made on Olukoyede.

Delivering his order on the motion on April 25, 2024, Justice Jamil said, “The applicant’s application before me is to the effect that the Respondent has carried out some acts upon which they have been restrained by this Court on the 9th of February, 2024, pending the determination of the substantive motion on Notice before this Court.

“That the said act was carried out by the Respondent in violation of the order which was valid and subsisting when they carried out those acts. That same acts of the Respondent amounts to acts of contempt.

“That the Respondent should be summoned to appear before this Court to answer to the contempt charge.

“It’s against the above facts that this Court hereby grants the prayers sought in line with the principle of “Audi Ultra Patem”. To wit:

“An order of this Honourable Court for the issuance of Form 49 Notice to show cause why order of committal should not be made against the Executive Chairman of the Respondent – Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“An order for service of Form 49-Notice to show why order of committal should not be made on the Executive Chairman of the Respondent – Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at EFCC Corporate Headquarters, Plot 301/302, Research and Institution District, Abuja.

“This matter is adjourned to the 13th of May, 2024 for the Respondent’s Chairman to appear before this Court in answer to form 49 ordered to be served on him.”


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