Home Editorial Yahaya Bello, Victim of Political Witch-hunt

Yahaya Bello, Victim of Political Witch-hunt

by Roving


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC in an amended charge, accused the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello of diverting N80billion of state funds in September 2015, four months before he assumed office.

It also accused Bello of conspiring with his nephew, Ali Bello, and his associate, Dauda Suleiman, to convert the total sum of N80.2 billion belonging to Kogi State Government to personal use.

However in a swift response, the Kogi state government described the EFCC allegations against the former governor as laughable and deliberate attempt to persecute Bello without any reasonable justification, saying no money was missing from the treasury.

The government said the attempt to join the former governor into an ongoing suit is faulty, mischievous and has no basis.

In a statement by Commissioner for Information and Communications Kingsley Fanwo, the government said: “The fact that the EFCC, in charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022: FRN V. 1. Ali Bello 2. Dauda Suleiman, currently pending before  Justice J.K. Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division further amended the ‘Amended Charge’ to include in the count, the name of  Yahaya Bello, describing him as being “at large”, is ridiculous, laughable and portrays the EFCC as an agency infested with persons whose intents disagree with the noble intention of Mr. President to defeat corruption.

Similarly, The Northern Emancipation Network (NEN) condemned the EFCC for what it calls a witch hunt, harassment and intimidation against the former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.

Also, Anti-Corruption Civil Society Organisations, warned the EFCC under the leadership of Ola Olukoyede, to refrain from allowing “cankerworms of the previous management left in the system” rubbish his credentials as the Head of the Commission.

The over 300 anti-corruption activists, noted that it was pertinent for them to sound an early note of warning in view of the fact that the misuse of the EFCC by political gladiators, as a veritable tool of victimization and score-settling, which they thought had been tackled, was suddenly rearing its head again.

The activists who described the latest amended charge as embarrassing, said “A Court document at our disposal submitted to the Court by EFCC is alleging that the former Governor and his nephew, one Alli Bello, converted Kogi State’s money to the tune of over Eighty Billion Naira since September 2015!

Over the years, the EFCC has been criticised for being an attack dog of the government in power, by going after politically-exposed-persons perceived to be opposed to the successive incumbent presidents or their interests.

Report says that Bello’s travails are not unconnected with his decision to challenge President Bola Tinubu in the APC presidential primaries of 2022.

Bello had joined the race by aspiring to be the presidential flagbearer of the APC in the primary election that eventually produced President Tinubu who went on to win the presidential election and won the election.

There are still feelings that some politicians were uncomfortable with Bello’s stance against the zoning arrangement in the APC.

They believe that Yahaya Bello might still habour a presidential ambition come 2027 and this could be the reasons they are bent on taking him down politically.

Those behind Bello’s travails have forgotten that he had since aligned with President Tinubu and earned his full support during the Governorship election in Kogi State which was won by the APC’s Ahmed Usman Ododo.

The EFCC Establishment Act as amended in 2004 commissions the EFCC to combat economic and financial crimes, thereby enabling the Commission to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalize economic and financial crimes.

Considering the aforementioned roles, the EFCC should thread softly having in mind the sensitivity of its responsibilities towards fighting corruption. Cases should thoroughly be investigated before charging suspects to courts.

EFCC should be reminded that politics and anti-corruption are not the same.

The anti-corruption agency should at this critical time of Nigeria be reminded of former president  Muhammadu Buhari’s warning against being used for partisan politics in its operations.

EFCC boss should steer clear and avoid being dragged in personal feuds, but should, instead, focus on serving the nation and enforce good administration.

EFCC should ensure professionalism and avoid issues that would further question the system if cases of such magnitude are perceived to be politically motivated.

The question EFCC  should provide answers to is how come a fraud case is being instituted against Yahaya Bello even before he became the governor?

Expectations of Nigerians are high and chasing after frivolous cases such as the one against Yahaya Bello should be avoided.

While we support credible anti-corruption drive, we, however, condemn unequivocally all corruption allegations that are politically motivated.

The EFCC’s action looks like a hurriedly prepared amendment targeted at Yahaya Bello without paying much attention to facts.

Except the Commission is able to prove before the court that Yahaya Bello was involved in financial transactions with Kogi State money before he assumed office in January 2016 as Kogi State Governor,  then they have a lot of questions to answer Nigerians.

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