Former ECOWAS Court of Justice Vice President Criticizes EFCC Chairman’s Press Conference on Yahaya Bello

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Professor Nwoke Friday Chijioke, the former Vice President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, has spoken out against the press conference conducted by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), particularly in relation to its discussion of Yahaya Bello, the former Governor of Kogi State.

Speaking on Politics Today, a programme on Channels Television, Prof. Chijioke criticized the EFCC’s approach, denouncing it as an unfair trial and labelling it as a form of media trial.

He stressed the importance of discretion in such matters, emphasizing that institutions of justice, like the EFCC, should conduct investigations discreetly without involving the media.

His words: ”The EFCC chairman’s press conference of yesterday was really uncalled for. That is unfair trial. All these challenges are because of what I would call a media trial.

”An institution of justice should be in a position, especially when you are the investigator, carry out a discrete investigation. You do not need to involve the media.

”For example, the EFCC’s chairman interview yesterday was really, really uncalled for. It was uncalled for in the sense that you do not need to accord any privilege to Yahaya Bello.

”The law does not require the according or the giving of privileges to persons who are suspected of having committed an offense. That is one.

”Secondly, the law necessarily does not need, especially in situations of this nature. In corruption cases, you don’t necessarily need to make an arrest. You don’t need to bring into custody. Because more often than not, in corruption cases, they are determined by documentary evidence.

”If you make out a prima facie case and you have evidence to make out a prima facie case, why don’t you file a case in court and serve the accused person? Why would you, in the first instance, perhaps advertise or publicize? Because that is, in the first instance, unfair hearing.”

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