Article

EFCC Not Above The Law : APC chieftains condemn coordinated witch-hunt of Yahaya Bello

29 views

Lawyer Jesutega Onokpasa, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against overstepping legal boundaries in its pursuit of former Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello.

 

Bello is accused of involvement in an alleged N80.2 billion fraud.

 

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Onokpasa urged the EFCC to respect the court order currently in place, which restrains it from arresting and prosecuting Bello.

 

The EFCC’s attempted to apprehend Bello at his Abuja residence on Wednesday was unsuccessful.

 

According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Onokpasa emphasized that until the court order is lifted, any action taken by the EFCC against Bello is considered illegal.

 

He criticized the commission’s actions, suggesting they are more akin to persecution than legitimate prosecution.

 

“The immediate past governor has been trending in the news in a manner that calls for great concern with a plethora of ramifications. Cutting across serious issues such as fundamental human rights, the rule of law, and then other matters of political significance. As far as we are aware, former governor Bello had obtained a court order restraining the EFCC from arresting, arraigning or prosecuting him. We state categorically that it was perfectly entitled in law to place reliance on the protection of the law. Indeed, the same law which binds absolutely all of us in a civilised society.

 

“The motto of the EFCC is that no one is above the law. Well, that starts with the EFCC itself, which is certainly not and cannot possibly be above the law. The remedy against an order of court is to vacate the order or to appeal the same, and most certainly not for law enforcement to thumb its nose at the court and decompose into lawlessness and brigandage,’’ he said.

 

Onokpasa said that the withdrawal of the security details to Bello was also illegal, and thus politically exposing him to great danger.

 

He said that as a former governor, Bello was entitled to a certain number of security details for protection. He claimed that the former governor’s travail in the hand of EFCC was politically motivated by his perceived enemies.

 

We unequivocally condemn this witch-hunt against a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and former governor of one of the states of this country,’’ he said.

 

Onokpasa said that while no one was condoling corruption, if there was a case of corruption against anybody, the prosecution should be done according to law.

 

He called on all well-meaning Nigerians, including incumbent and former governors to stand against what he described as “utter travesty.’’

 

“Today it may be the turn of Bello. Well, tomorrow it might be the turn of any one of us,’’ he said.

 

Fielding questions from journalists, Onokpasa said that the narrative that Bello was running away from prosecution was untrue.

 

He said it was the right of Bello to seek the protection of the court in protecting his human right.

 

He said that in as much as Bello had valid court order restraining the EFCC from arresting or prosecuting him, the only remedy for the commission was to return to court to vacate the order.

 

He said that even as a law-abiding citizen, Bello ought not to cooperate with anybody trying to break the law to arrest him.

 

“Even this order, I was reliably informed today that the court even mandated the EFCC to seek leave of the court of appeal before it

Leave a reply