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April 24, 2024

We’ll ensure Yahaya Bello faces trial no matter what it takes — EFCC chair

Your crypto trading being used to fund terrorism, EFCC tells Nigerian youths

EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede

•Obey rule of law, Yahaya Bello tells EFCC

 •We’ve frozen 300 accounts of illicit forex trading

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr.Ola Olukoyede, insisted yesterday that the anti-graft agency would do everything humanly possible to bring immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to account for his tenure in office.

Olukoyede, who briefed the media in Abuja, said Yahaya Bello was using some antics to try to evade trial after engaging in various acts of financial mismanagement, one of which involved the transfer of Kogi State money via Bureau D’change dealers.

The EFCC chairman said in one instance, Bello caused his cousin to move $750,000 to a BDC for payment of his child’s school fees abroad in advance.

He said the agency would have arrested Bello as early as January this year but waited to secure a warrant of arrest from the Federal High Court before going to effect his arrest last week but was prevented from doing so by a governor and 30 armed policemen.

Olukoyede said although EFCC had 50 armed operatives who would have confronted the policemen in Bello’s House, they opted to exercise caution to avoid collateral damage.

He, however, vowed that all the persons, who aided and abetted Bello to escape arrest last week would be fished out and punished in accordance with the law.

Olukoyede said: “We have not violated any law regarding Yahaya Bello. Indeed, we have obeyed the judgment of  Kogi High Court, which ordered EFCC to produce and charge Yahaya Bello before FHC. It didn’t stop us from not prosecuting him.

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“I personally invited Bello for interview in my office but he refused and asked us to come to his village to talk to him. He did so many things with Kogi’s money but does not want to come to court to clear his name and that is quite unfortunate.

”In one particular case, he used his cousin to move $751,000 to pay his child’s school fees in advance through BDC. We don’t need him to give evidence before charging him to court.

But he has refused to go to court to answer the charges.

“The FHC gave us warrant of arrest to bring Yahaya Bello to court. Let me say that everyone who aided and abetted Yahaya Bello to escape will face trial, including those who have immunity at the moment.

“We would have moved against Yahaya Bello as early as January this year but we needed to get the WoA. We met over 30 armed policemen. We would have exchanged fire and there would have been casualties but we decided to exercise caution. We will get Yahaya Bello to face justice no matter how long it takes.’

On the economy, Olukoyede revealed that the commission had recently frozen no fewer than 300 accounts of illicit financial agencies being used to undemind the Nigerian currency and destabilise the economy.

“We froze 300 accounts in illicit forex trading and discovered that one of those guys traded with N50 billion,” the chairman added.

Responding to a quesrion on the arrest of the former Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, Olukoyede said he would neither confirm nor deny the arrest but admitted that the EFCC had begun investigation on the operations of the ministry and its officials.

He explained that the probe being carried out by the EFCC was not about Hadi Sirika alone but activities of the aviation ministry under the previous administration.

‘We are investigating ministry of aviation and the former minister. It is beyond him but about national interest.

“Yes, we are investigating it and we will release what we might have found at the end of the day. We may charge some persons to court,” Olukoyede added.

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