Activists Protest EFCC’s Alleged Political Persecution of Yahaya Bello

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Hundreds of activists, on Saturday, stormed the streets of Lagos to protest alleged underground moves by some desperate opposition figures in Kogi State as well as other perceived political enemies to unleash terror on the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, using the platform of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The activists, who addressed a press conference and also staged a huge rally, condemned calls by a group called Zero Corruption Agenda in collaboration with another group, Kogites United Against Corruption, for the EFCC to ignore court orders guaranteing Bello’s fundamental human rights and effect an arrest despite the ongoing court process.

While raising the alarm that there were speculations going around that some desperate politicians were “even allegedly planning to use gunmen dressed in fake military uniforms to attack Yahaya Bello’s residences”, they called on the police and other relevant security agencies to be vigilant to prevent anarchy in the country.

According to them, many Nigerians already suspect that the alleged “endless attack on the former Governor, his family members and even innocent children by the EFCC in the most unprofessional way, despite revelations that showed he was actually protected by the law, have deep political undertones.

Comrade Segun Abegunde, who briefed the press on behalf of the CSOs, under the joint umbrella of Citizens Action Against Lawlessness, insisted that the desperation by some opposition figures and Yahaya Bello’s political enemies to hide under the purported fight against corruption to call for the arrest of a man who has a court order for his fundamental human rights to be protected and who is already in court with the EFCC, “almost confirms this insinuation of an evil plan against him by some interested politicians, using the EFCC platform.”

“This is not difficult to detect, having seen the composition of the so-called Kogites who made these curious calls, even in London. The videos exposed their ethnic leaning as they were speaking the language of the aggrieved politicians in Kogi State,” the activists said.

They alleged that opposition political parties were using the EFCC to fight political battles in Kogi State and called on the ruling Party to be vigilant.

“The tribunal judgement on the last governorship election in Kogi State is coming up on Monday May 27th. The desperation by the opposition to have Yahaya Bello in custody has increased exponentially as that date approaches. There seems to be a determination to either keep him out of circulation while they try to steal APC’s mandate in the state or to completely eliminate him for whatever reasons only known to them.

“Also, considering the way and manner the EFCC chairman has taken the Yahaya Bello matter so personal, it is glaring that a Yahaya Bello in the custody of the EFCC is not going to be safe at all,” they stated.

Abegunde said, “The courts are there to mediate between government and citizens and between two or more contending interests and the court’s intervention is sacrosanct until overturned by a superior Court.

“The rallies, both home and abroad, calling for jettisoning of the due process of law and for the EFCC to arrest Yahaya Bello, court orders or no court orders, sponsored by the opposition and his political enemies within, are not only reckless but dangerous to our polity and absolutely condemnable.

“Such calls have now given credence to the allegations that some powerful political forces are after Yahaya Bello, not because of corruption allegations, but that they are actually after his life. What have the military got to do with the EFCC that a group would be calling for military intervention to arrest a single citizen in a case where he is already a defendant?”

Emphasising the urgent need for President Bola Tinubu to call the anti-graft body to order before it is too late, the CSOs pointed out that the so-called Kogites call for the commission to use military force to arrest the former governor, even when his date to appear in court had already been fixed, was not only reckless but dangerous to the nation’s polity.

“There is even a speculation going around now, which may be credible, that some desperate politicians are even allegedly planning to use gunmen dressed in fake military uniforms to attack Yahaya Bello’s residences.

“We call on the police and other relevant security agencies to be vigilant. We also call on President Bola Tinubu to immediately call EFCC to order. The Commission seems to have offered its platform for enemies of the former governor to execute their plans against him and the President must wade in, especially with the facts on ground that EFCC has displayed flagrant disregard for the rule of law, all the way, in handling this matter.

“We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, to, as a matter of urgency, call the EFCC to order with a view to staying off political interference. The Commission should concentrate strictly on its anti-corruption mandate by staying within the enabling laws that established it. The EFCC should not be identified with promoting anarchy, no matter what.

The court processes should be allowed to run their course without disruption. That is when democracy and rule of law can be said to be functioning in our nation,” the activists stressed.

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