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FG places Yahaya Bello on watchlist

...as police withdraw security details

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The political travails of the former governor of Kogi State, Mr Yahaya Bello has taken a different dimension as the federal government on Friday placed him on its watchlist, alerting security agencies in the country and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to arrest him at any entry and exit points.

Mr Kemi Nanna Nandap, the Comptroller General of Immigration Service disclosed this in a memo addressed to several security stakeholders including the Director General, Department of State Services (DSS), The Inspector General of Police and the Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

The memo which was signed by ACI DS Umar provided details of the ex-governor’s international passport.

The memo reads, “I am directed to inform you that the above named person has been placed on watch list.

“Suffice to mention that the subject is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court Abuja for Conspiracy, Breach of Trust and Money Laundering vide letter Ref; CR; 3000/EFCC/LS/EGCS.1/TE/V1/279 dated 18 April 2024. If seen at any entry or exit point, he should be arrested and referred to the Director of Investigation or contact 08036226329/07039617304 for further action.

“Please accept as always the Comptroller General warmest regards and esteem”.

Also, the Nigerian police force has withdrawn the security details attached to the embattled former governor.

The order for the withdrawal was contained in a Police Wireless Message.

It reads,

“CB:4001/DOPS/PMF/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.48/ 34 X ORDER AND DIRECTIVES X FOLLOWING MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM NIGPOL

DOPS ABUJA X BEGINS X CB:4001/DOPS/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.21/462 DTO:180955/04/2024 X ORDER AND DIRECTIVES X REF MYLET NO CB:3412/DOPS/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.1/36 DATED 15/04/2024 X AND MY EARLIER LET NO CB:3412/DOPS/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.1/30 DATED 24/01/2024 X INGENPOL HAS ORDERED THE WITHDRAWAL OF ALL MEN

YOURS X ATTACHED TO HIS EXCELLENCY X ALHAJI YAHAYA BELLO X FORMER EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF KOGI STATE WIE X ALL TO

ACKNOWLEDGE COMPLIANCE X TREAT WITH UTMOST IMPORTANCE. PLEASE X ENDS X ABOVE FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND STRICT

COMPLIANCE PLEASE XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.”

NewsBand reported on Thursday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) declared Mr Yahaya Bello wanted.

The anti-graft agency in a public notice said Bello is wanted for alleged offences relating to economic and financial crimes to the tune of N80.2 billion.

It called on Nigerians with useful information as to his whereabout to report immediately to the Commission or the nearest Police Station.

The public notice reads, “The public is hereby notified that YAHAYA ADOZA BELLO (former Governor of Kogi State), whose photograph appears above is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in connection with alleged case of Money Laundering to the tune of N80,246,470,089.88 (Eighty Billion, Two Hundred and Forty Six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand and Eighty Nine Naira, Eighty Eight Kobo).

“Bello, 48-year old Ebiraman, is a native of Okenne Local Government of Kogi State. His last known address is: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“Anybody with useful information as to his whereabouts should please contact the Commission in its lbadan, Enugu, Kano, Lagos, Gombe, Port Harcourt and Abuja offices or through these numbers 09-9044751-3, 08093322644, 08183322644, 07026350721-3, 0706350724-5; its e-mail address: info@efccnigeria.org or the nearest Police Station and other security agencies”.

Though, earlier on Thursday, the federal government had called on Yahaya Bello to follow the path of decency and surrender himself for investigation.

The call was made by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN on Thursday.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had granted the anti-graft agency permission to arrest Yahaya Bello ahead of his arraignment on Thursday. The attempt to arrest the ex-governor led to the laying of siege at his Abuja residence earlier today.

Operatives of the commission barricaded the entrance to the residence of the former governor in Wuse zone 4 of the nation’s capital. But the embattled former governor was reportedly smuggled out from his home when his predecessor, governor Ahmed Ododo paid him a solidarity visit during the face-off on Wednesday.

But reacting to the situation, the AGF, in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, said the EFCC is empowered by law to invite any Nigerian for interrogation.

The AGF described the action of the incumbent governor of the State, Ahmed Ododo, who used his immunity to scuttle Bello’s arrest on Wednesday as ‘disquieting’, adding that embarking on a temporising self-help and escapism that can only put Nigeria in bad light before the rest of the world is not the way to go.

Part of the statement reads, “The bizarre drama confronting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the course of its efforts to perform its statutory duty has come to my notice (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice) as 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 investigation 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. A flight
from the law does not resolve issues at stake but only exacerbates it.

“I state unequivocally that I stand for the rule of law and will promptly call EFCC and indeed any other agency to order when there is indication of any transgression of the fundamental rights of any Nigerian by any of the agencies but I also tenaciously hold the view that institutions of State should be allowed to function effectively and efficiently. 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 that can only put our country in bad light before the rest of the world”

 

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