Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Tinubu’s govt tells Yahaya Bello to surrender as EFCC mulls military option to execute arrest

I encourage anyone who has been invited by the EFCC or any other agency to immediately toe the path of decency.

• April 18, 2024
Yahaya Bello speaking with Tinubu
Yahaya Bello speaking with Tinubu

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN has warned Nigerians against obstructing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from carrying out its lawful duty .

Mr Fagbemi’s warning is contained in a statement in Abuja.

The immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has continued to obstruct efforts by the commission’s officials to arrest him on matters bordering on corruption allegations.

The statement noted, “This is a matter of very grave concern, it is now beyond doubt that the EFCC is given power by the law to invite any person of interest to interact with them in the course of their investigations into any matter, regardless of status.

“Therefore, the least that we can all do when invited, is not to put any obstruction in the way of EFCC, but to honourably answer their invitation. A situation where public officials who are themselves subject of protection by law enforcement agents will set up a stratagem of obstruction to the civil and commendable efforts of the EFCC to perform its duty is to say the least, insufferably disquieting.’’

He added that running away from the law would not resolve issues at stake but only exacerbate them.

He stated, “Nigeria has a vibrant judicial system that is capable of protecting everyone who follows the rule of law in seeking protection. I therefore encourage anyone who has been invited by the EFCC or any other agency to immediately toe the path of decency and civility by honouring such invitation instead of embarking on a temporising self-help and escapism. This can only put our country in bad light before the rest of the world.’’

He said institutions of state should be allowed to function effectively and efficiently.

“I stand for the rule of law and will promptly call EFCC, and indeed any other agency to order when there is an indication of any transgressions of the fundamental rights of any Nigerian by any of the agencies.’’

The EFCC had on Wednesday warned members of the public that it was a criminal offence to obstruct officers of the commission from carrying out their lawful duties.

Section 38(2)(a(b) of the EFCC Establishment Act makes it an offence to prevent officers of the Commission from carrying out their lawful duties. Culprits risk a jail term of not less than five years.

The warning, the EFCC said, became necessary against the background of the increasing tendency by persons and groups under investigation by the commission to take the laws into their hands by recruiting thugs to obstruct lawful operations of the EFCC.

On several occasions, the anti-graft agency said operatives of the commission had to exercise utmost restraint in the face of such provocation to avoid a breakdown of law and order.

Meanwhile, EFCC counsel Kemi Pinheiro stated that if Mr Bello was innocent, he should appear in court to defend himself.

However, the lawyer pointed out that if Bello refused to appear, measures would be taken against him, citing section 287 of the constitution, which allows security agencies, including the military, to produce a person before a court and that nobody is above the court or the rule of law. 

(NAN)

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