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Court issues fresh order for EFCC to arrest ex-Kogi governor Yahaya Bello over alleged N80.2bn fraud



The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has issued another order for security operatives to arrest the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

The court who lambasted the ex-governor for attempting to truncate the criminal case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said he must come to court and answer to the fraud allegations of 80.2 billion naira.

On April 23, 2024, the court ordered the EFCC to serve former governor with the money laundering charges against him through his lawyer.

In a ruling, Justice Nwite stated that the application filed by the antigraft agency, that no application be heard without the defendant being in court, was meritorious.

According to the court, the former governor, by briefing lawyers to challenge its jurisdiction to try him, while he remained in hiding, showed that he “has no atom of respect and regard for the court.”

It held that Bello’s decision to file the application “is clearly showing his intention not to present himself for trial,” stressing that he ought to have made himself available upon becoming aware of the order of arrest that was issued against him.

“The law is settled that he who disobeyed an order of court and shown disrespect to the court cannot expect a favourable discretion of the court.

“The honourable thing the defendant would have done was to obey the order of court by making himself available.

“Section 287 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, mandates all persons and authority to give effect to orders of court.

“He has wilfully disobeyed the order of this court. An order of court of competent jurisdiction, no matter how it was obtained, subsists until it is set aside.

“A party who refuse to obey an order of court after becoming aware of it, is in contempt of court.

“He is not entitled to be heard or granted a favourable discretion. The refusal of the defendant to make himself available is solely to truncate the arraignment and prevent the court from proceeding further in this case.

“Refusal of the defendant to make himself available in an attempt to truncate this court and make it practically impossible for the court to assume jurisdiction in this criminal trial.

“He ought to make himself available. He cannot sit in the comfort of his home to file applications before this court.

“The defendant has no atom or regard for the court. Clearly, the defendant is taking this court for granted.”

Justice Nwite held that Bello’s decision to treat the order of the court with levity, was previously condemned by the Supreme Court.

“In view of the forgoing analysis, I am of the view and I so hold, that no application can be moved or heard unless the defendant is present before the court to take his plea,” the trial judge held.

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