EFCC Chairman Vows to Resign if Investigation into Yahaya Bello Is Not Completed Under His Watch

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, has made a resolute declaration, asserting that he will tender his resignation if he does not personally oversee the conclusion of the investigation into former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
Olukoyede’s statement came during a chat with journalists at the EFCC Headquarters in the Jabi area of Abuja on Tuesday.
The EFCC Chairman revealed that he reached out to Yahaya Bello directly, extending an invitation for him to address the charges against him.
However, Bello declined the invitation, citing concerns over potential intimidation.
The EFCC boss added, “I didn’t initiate the case; I inherited the case file. I called for the file, and I said there are issues here.
“On my own, I called him, which I am not supposed to do, just to honour him as an immediate past governor. ‘Sir, there are issues. I’ve seen this case file. Can you just come let us clarify these issues?’
“He said, ‘Ha! Thank you, my brother. I know, but I can’t come. There’s one lady that has surrounded EFCC with over 100 people to come and embarrass me and intimidate me.”
Bello was said to have suggested that the EFCC come to his village rather than conduct an investigation at the agency’s quarters.
Olukoyede said, “I said if that is the issue, I’m going to pass you through my own gate, and you will come to my floor. We will accord you that respect. I will invite my operatives; they will interrogate and interview you in my own office. What could be more honourable than that to allay the fear?”
“You know what he said: ‘Thank you, sir, but can’t they come to my village?” Olukoyede added.
Despite Bello’s reluctance to appear before the commission, Olukoyede emphasized the importance of accountability and transparency, stressing that Nigerians must support the EFCC’s efforts to combat corruption.
Olukoyede underscored the significance of the ongoing investigation, which seeks to arraign Bello on 19 counts of alleged money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds totaling N80.2 billion.
He pledged to prosecute Bello diligently and ensure justice is served.
The EFCC Chairman reiterated the agency’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and combating corruption, regardless of any challenges or hindrances it may face.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the EFCC on Tuesday served a copy of the charge sheet outlining the alleged fraud amounting to N84 billion against Yahaya Bello’s immediate past governor to his lawyer, Abdulwahab Mohamed SAN.
Justice Emeka Nwite made the order following the submission of lead counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC Dr Kemi Pinheiro SAN that Bello has not show up despite the order of court compelling Bello to appear.
Pinheiro then prayed the court to direct his lawyer to accept the service of the charge on behalf of the defendant.
Relying on section 384 (4 and 5) of the Administrative and Criminal Justice Act 2015, Justice Nwite direct the counsel to the immediate past governor to receive a copy of the charge.
The court held that where it had become impossible to effect personal service of a legal process on a defendant, such could be done through substituted means.
Justice Nwite further held that it was clear that the former governor failed to appear in court for his arraignment.
Although Bello’s lawyer, Mohammed, initially declined to accept the charges and proof of evidence, he was compelled to do so by Justice Nwite.
The judge rejected the plea by the senior lawyer that a junior lawyer in his team, AI Musa, be the one to accept the charges on behalf of the former governor.
A member of the legal team for Bello, Adedayo Adedipe, SAN told the court that his client would have made himself available, but was afraid of being of a lack of fair hearing and justice.
He added that Bello was ready to appear before the court to answer the 19-count charge preferred against him by the EFCC.
Adedipe urged the court, to set aside the ex-parte order of arrest it had earlier issued against the former governor, saying that at the time the order of arrest was made, the charge had not been served on his client.
Bello had argued that the EFCC was an illegal organisation. According to him, the Federal Government did not consult the 36 states of the federation before enacting the EFCC Act through the National Assembly.
He added that section 12 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, required the various Houses of Assembly to ratify the act before it could become operative.
Lead counsel to the EFCC, Dr Kemi Phinheiro SAN, however, urged the court to dismiss the application, insisting that the warrant of arrest should not be set aside until the defendant makes himself available for trial.
He argued that Bello did not have the legal ground to file numerous applications while in hiding.
Justice Nwite had last week issued a bench warrant against Bello following an application to that effect by EFCC.
The EFCC subsequently declared the former governor wanted for his persistent absence in court and for evading the criminal charges against him.
He was absent from court for his arraignment on a 19-count charge of alleged money laundering to the tune of ₦84bn.
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