Yahaya Bello Vs EFCC: Those Accusing Olukoyede Of Witch-hunt Are ‘Hired Nonentities’– Lawyer

An Abuja based lawyer, Blessing E. Ogbu, has described those accusing the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of witch-hunting ex-Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, as “nonentities” who do not understand the role of the anti-graft agency.

Recently, some individuals and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have accused the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, of witch-hunting Bello due to efforts by EFCC to arrest him after allegedly failing to honour invitations with regard to fraud allegations against him. 

The EFCC had earlier dragged Yahaya Bello, his nephew Ali, one Dauda Sulaiman, and Abdulsalam Hudu before Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in an amended charge in March 2024 over an alleged N84bn money laundering.

Operatives of the commission subsequently tried to arrest him from his Abuja home, but failed.

Speaking in an interview with THE WHISTLER, Barr. Ogbu said there’s no basis to  accuse the Olukoyede of witch-hunt.

He said: “He (Olukoyede) has no personal or business relationship with Bello. He is only doing his job. That he is an appointee of the President against whom Bello vied for the presidential ticket of the APC means nothing.

“He is only doing his job as the Czar of the EFCC. He is covered by the presumption of regularity. His traducers should show where his actions amount to witch-hunting. Such hired nonentities should not be accorded any scintilla of attention.”

The legal practitioner also blamed the EFCC for not acting seriously to arrest Bello, despite being constitutionally empowered to do so.

“See, the EFCC has the powers to arrest, yes or no? They have the powers to investigate, yes or no? They have the powers to prosecute if a prima facie case is made out, yes or no? All they need do is to act within the confines of the law. By the law, I mean the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 as amended in 2006 and 2010.

“Do you know that the EFCC can even break into the government house where Bello is hiding and arrest him? It is the Governor that has immunity and not the Government House, and certainly not Bello.”

He said Section 12(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 allows the EFCC to enter the Government House premises to arrest him, while Section 12(2) permits “them to break the house and enter therein if the owner of the house refuse them entry.”

He stated further that the Court of Appeal made a pronouncement recently that the Kogi State High Court lacks the powers to restrain the EFCC from doing its job of arresting Bello.

The lawyer said such unwillingness by the anti-graft agencies to properly use their powers may render President Bola Tinubu’s anti corruption fight mere “cosmetic window dressing” designed to impress the public and give the impression that the government is fighting corruption.

Speaking further he said , ” What I mean is that the anti-corruption agencies of the government blow hot air here and there in selected cases, generate talking points for Nigerians to occupy themselves with, then they go to sleep.

“It is cosmetic window-dressing because nothing is really being done. Let me give you one indicator that nothing is really being done: Can you point to one instance where the suspects of humongous corruption allegations have been charged to court? I don’t mean ‘convicted’  I mean, just charge them to court. Can you give me one instance since 29th May, 2023 to date?”

Ogbu explained that if the EFCC was serious with prosecution of Bello, it could have long arrested Bello.

“But, then, we are not ready to have a serious anti-corruption conversation just yet.

“Another example: Hadi Sirika and the Air Nigeria project. After a lot of media propaganda that attended his arrest, everywhere has gone silent. We don’t even know what is happening to that case,” he stated.

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