Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Calls for EFCC to Honor Court Order in Bello Case

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, a prominent Igbo socio-cultural organization, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to adhere to an existing court order regarding the planned arrest of former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.

Recalling recent events, the EFCC had attempted to arrest Bello, which was met with opposition from Bello's media team. They argued that the action was in violation of a Kogi State High Court order, which had issued an injunction against the commission.

The disputed arrest aligns with a court order dated February 9, 2024, from the Kogi State High Court of Justice, Lokoja Division, in the case Alhaji Yahaya Bello Vs. EFCC (Suit No. HCL/68M/2024). The order restrains the EFCC from harassing, arresting, detaining, or prosecuting Bello, pending the resolution of a fundamental rights enforcement action.

Despite the EFCC appealing the order in Appeal No.: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024, with proceedings adjourned to April 22, 2024, the commission's actions have raised concerns.

Mr. Chimaobi Ezejiofor, the Public Relations Officer of the Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council, expressed surprise at the EFCC's haste in proceeding against Bello without exhausting legal avenues. 

Ezejiofor emphasized the importance of government agencies respecting the rule of law, especially when they have engaged the legal process through appeals and requests for a stay of execution.

The group has urged the EFCC to allow the Appeal Court to make a definitive ruling on the case. Ezejiofor stated that it is a fundamental legal principle for parties to maintain the status quo while a matter is sub judice. 

The EFCC's current approach is seen as an affront to the rule of law and potentially indicative of a targeted witch-hunt.

Furthermore, the group criticized the timing of declaring the former governor wanted, considering the ongoing legal proceedings at the Court of Appeal. 

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council has appealed to the commission to let the legal process unfold without interference, cautioning against actions that could undermine the law.

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