Alleged N80.2billion fraud: Obey Court order now- Kogi Assembly tells EFCC

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Following the allegations levelled against former Kogi State Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello over alleged N80.2billion fraud, the State House of Assembly has called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC) to obey the rule of law and work within the ambit of law creating the Commission.

This forms part of the resolutions during the House plenary on Tuesday.

The lawmakers also resolved that
the Tag’WANTED’ laced around the name and person of former Governor Yahaya Bello be immediately removed.

Other resolutions of the hallow chamber reads in part” The EFCC, IGP, IMMIGRATION, NSA and other agencies conscripted into this melodrama be so informed and involved to act accordingly. The Commission should not allow itself to become a tool of political vendetta, blackmail, or intimidation against any individual through personal grudges, persecution, and campaign of calumny to tarnish
the image of personalities from Kogi State especially Alh Yahaya Bello or any perceived political enemy of the characters hiding behind their executive powers to unleash allegations through media for public consumption and sympathy.

“The House condemns in its entirety a statement by legal practitioner suggesting a request that the military be involved in the case that does not | constitute threat to internal security or treasonable felony”

Earlier in his motion titled “a call to end all false, frivolous, fictitious, and far from the truth smear campaign against the former Governor of Kogi State Alhaji Yahaya Bello” the Lawmaker representing Ajaokuta State Constituency, Hon
Jibril Onoru-Oiza Abu, lamented
that, the anti graft agency has been allegedly witch-hunting the former Governor of the State.

His words “The recent reports on the print, electronic media and social media handlers had featured various debasing forms of address against the former Governor of Kogi State. Recall that the whole narrative was principally sparked off by the blithe actions, without respect to due legal process, of the Nigeria’s anti- graft agency the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“The consequence of this has deeply affected the minds, emotions, and impressions of Kogi citizens and by extension Nigerians. Kogi State over the years have witnessed a worrisome trend and torrent of witch-hunt by the anti-graft agency, unrepentantly striving to force corruption claims on the State Government, officials and now again an Ex
Governor. This is not forgetting the plight of late Prince Abubakar Audu in the hands of the same agency, albeit, giving his dog a bad name for the kill.

“The Commission started with claims that it discovered a nonexistent fund in an alleged Fixed Deposit Account. By its statutory responsibility and while appreciating EFCC’s efforts in the fight against corruption, every right hinking individual would hold it a duty to support it in no small measure to succeed in its primary responsibilities. It is also possible as touted all around for those very wary of certain actions outside legal process by the EFCC to caution against allowing the Commission to become a tool for political vendettas.

“It is pertinent for House to further note that the new objectives assured by the leadership of EFCC upon assumption of duty and in his fight against crimes and corruption under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu are to fight financial crimes with due diligence and legal process. These objectives are being eroded by certain selfish group of political individuals with access to media and investigations in the commission.

“The 7th Legislative Assembly of Kogi State in August and September 2021 berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission upon the completion of its investigation over allegation of N20b Bailout diversion against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alh. Yahaya Bello through a fixed deposit account at Sterling Bank, Lokoja. The EFCC has continued the trajectory of persecuting the former Governor against all known legal decencies and now
likened, by most, to personal vendetta. But the question is why?

“At point of reference for the House to take cognizance of is the submission, that having wasted taxpayers’ money, the time of the honourable court and Nigerians, one Kemi Pinheiro SAN, acting on behalf of EFCC and other Legal luminaries, discovered that the case of N20b against the State Government lacked substance and that it was aimed at disrespecting the rule of law. The case was accordingly withdrawn citing 6 reasons. These reasons were in line with findings of 7 Legislative Assembly and for berating the EFCC.

“The Rt. Hon. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, this was not without a fight by the then Governor, revealing to Nigerians the impotent drive
by the Commission and its sudden acceptance of duties not enshrined in the law establishing the same.

” Kogi State, by allocation standard, is not rich so much so that N80.4b will be missing that the State will not be shaken to its foundation. This claim by the EFCC should be sanctioned and taken as laughable. Innocent Nigerians and Kogi State citizens that bought into the lies should by their personal volition withdraw their support”.

In his submissions, the member representing Kabba-Bunu State Constituency Hon. Oluwaseyi Bello berated EFCC for allegedly disobeying a subsisting court order in the State.

According to him ” The likes Bello Matawalle, Peter Odili and many more have enjoyed similar court order why is Yahaya Bello own different? A renowned SAN once said EFCC have always been acting like paper like. That he has won them 11 times. This is a call to end all frivolous, fictitious campaign against the former Governor of Kogi State”

On his part, former Deputy Speaker of the house Rt. Hon. Enema Paul wants the anti graft Agency to respect the rule of law, stressing that, “Why is EFCC in a haste? Nigeria is not a banana republic. I was surprised to hear a senior lawyer to EFCC inviting the military in a Civil case. Has the Police, DSS failed?

“I think EFCC should look at their lawyer and see if she is qualified. The Man they declared wanted is in appeal Court with them. Declaring him wanted, I think EFCC has alot of questions to answer. We don’t want military to rule this Country and some body is dragging us back to the olden days” he added.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the house Rt. Hon. Aliyu Umar Yusuf admonished the anti craft agency not to act contrary to the law of the Country.

.”This house is not against the EFCC doing their jobs but they should do it within the ambit of the law and not in a gestapo way.

“The Country belong to all of us, so we must respect the law and work with it. The EFCC engaging in media trial and working in a gestapo way is unacceptable. If Yahaya Bello has a case to answer, it should be done within the rule of law” he stated.

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