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Kogi governor Ododo appoints Yahaya Bello’s nephew accused of N3bn fraud as chief of staff



Kogi State Governor Ahmed Ododo has appointed Ali Bello, the nephew of immediate past Governor Yahaya Bello, as his chief of staff.

The new governor announced the appointment on Saturday after he took his oath of office at the swearing-in ceremony.

The former governor’s nephew takes up this new appointment despite being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of money laundering and misappropriation of about N3 billion.

In 2023, the anti-graft agency arraigned Mr Bello, along with two others, before Justice J.K. Omotosho of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on 18 charges. The court admitted Mr Bello and the three others to N500 million bail on February 20, 2023.

However, Ali Bello’s appointment has been heavily criticised by Nigerians, especially those on social media.

@lawrenceOkoropg said; “The same person docked for N3bn Fraud by the EFCC in Feb 2023 was appointed Chief of Staff to the Kogi State government 12 months later. Yet many are wasting in jail for doing nothing.

@firstladyship wrote; “Kogi state is the Wild West & the weakest link in Nigeria. They are the ones I pity the most. Yahaya Bello’s nephew, who has a case file with the EFCC, is now the chief of staff. The politicians are why the Naira will continue to crash against other currencies.

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@aai_austin said; “A convict in February 2023. A chief of staff in January 2024. Is the Lord not working wonders? Kogi state? EFCC has turned a blind eye because his name is not Emefiele.

Meanwhile, Mr Ododo also reappointed his successor’s commissioners, including Farouk Danlami, Salami Ozigi-Deedat, Basiru Abubakar, Adams Abdulaziz, Joseph Oluwaseun, Muzi Yinusa Abdullahi, Wemi Jonze, Rabiatu Okute, Fanwo Kingsley, Fatima Momoh, Mohammed Yusuf, Timothy Ojoma, Sunday Faleke, Abanika Taye, Asiwaju Idris Asiru, and Mohammed Adbulmutalib.

Other appointments include Folashade Ayodele Arike as Secretary to State Government, Hilary Ojoma as the deputy chief of staff, Elijah Evinemi as the head of service, Jerry Omodara as security adviser, and Isah Ismail as special adviser on media.

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