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UPDATED: EFCC Declares Yahaya Bello Wanted Over Alleged N80.2b Fraud

The agency had mulled using the military to fish out the ex-governor who was absent in court for a suit against him.


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Bello handed over as the governor of Kogi State in January.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared Yahaya Bello wanted for an alleged financial crime to the tune of N80.2 billion. 

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency called on those with vital information about the former Kogi governor’s whereabouts to reach the commission or the police.

“Former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, is wanted by the EFCC for offences relating to economic and financial crimes to the tune of N80.2 Billion,” the EFCC said in a Thursday evening post on its Facebook page it captioned ‘Ex-Gov Yahaya Bello Wanted By the EFCC’.

“Anybody with information as to his whereabouts should report immediately to the Commission or the nearest police Station.”

The declaration is the latest in the tussle between Bello and the anti-crime agency.  The chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was absent earlier in the day at the Federal High Court in Abuja for a suit instituted against him by the EFCC.

This forced Justice Emeka Nwite to adjourn the suit and for substituted service and possible arraignment of Bello for alleged money laundering.

READ ALSO: Yahaya Bello Absent As Court Adjourns, EFCC Mulls Military Option To Fish Him Out

‘Desperate Political Witch-Hunt’

Stern-looking EFCC operatives in front of the Abuja residence of ex-Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello on Wednesday, April 17, 2024

 

Before then, fiery-looking EFCC operatives stormed the former Kogi leader’s residence in the Wuse area of Abuja, attempting to arrest Bello for arraignment. Despite the siege, which lasted hours, the agency could not arrest the former governor whom it claimed was “whisked away” by his successor Usman Ododo.

The EFCC roundly condemned the move, describing it as an attempt to frustrate the agency’s operations.

In the face of the heated battle, Bello’s Media Office accused the anti-corruption agency of a witchhunt against its principal.

“Looking at the curious and endless scenarios of duplicated charges, cross-charges, counter and frivolous charges by the EFCC against former Governor Yahaya Bello, it has become crystal clear that the whole onslaught is nothing but a desperate political witch-hunt of the immediate past Governor of Kogi State,” his media office said in a statement.

A photo combo of Ododo, Bello and EFCC logo

Conflicting Court Orders

A court gavel.
A court gavel

 

Bello and EFCC’s tussle has also seen the issuance of conflicting orders by the courts.

Justice I. A Jamil of the Kogi State High Court in Lokoja had on Wednesday restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining, or prosecuting the former governor.

“By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining, and prosecuting the applicant except as authorised by the Court,” he said. “This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

Undeterred, the EFCC got permission from the Federal High Court in Abuja to arrest Bello ahead of his arrangement on Thursday.

Bello’s trials come about three months after he handed over to his party man Ododo, ending an eight-year stint that began on January 27, 2016.