Yahaya Bello: Yoruba Youth Council cautions EFCC not to jeopardize Democracy

The Yoruba Youth Council has cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to jeopardize Nigeria's hard-earned democracy in its attempt to arrest the immediate former Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello over allegations of money laundering.

It gave the caution against the background of threat by the commission on Thursday to involve the military in the planned arrest following the ex-governor's absence at his arraignment before a Federal High Court in Abuja on N80 billion money laundering charges.

In a statement by its National President, Comrade Eric Oluwole, the Council, which is an umbrella organization of Yoruba youths, said that drafting the military to resolve civil, criminal, or whatever cases between Nigerians and government agencies in a democracy would be sending wrong signals about the nation's commitment to the rule of law as applied in a Democracy.

Also, it cautioned the agency against taking the laws into its hands in a case that was already in court awaiting determination.
It noted that an order of the Kogi State High Court granted on February 9, restraining the EFCC or its agents from harassing, arresting, detaining, or prosecuting the ex-governor pending the determination by the court, was still pending while the anti-graft body invaded his Abuja home, threatened to involve the military in arresting him, and declared him wanted.

Earlier on Wednesday, the  commission's attempt to arrest Bello in his Abuja home failed due to the presence of the incumbent Kogi State Governor Usman Ododo in the vicinity, who allegedly sneaked Bello
However, Bello's counsel, Abdulwahab Muhammed, told the court on Thursday that his client was in Kogi State when EFCC operatives besieged his Abuja residence on Wednesday.

This was during the hearing of the alleged money laundering case against Alli Bello, chief of staff to Usman Ododo, governor of Kogi; Yahaya Bello, and one Daudu Suleiman
He said Bello was awaiting the judgment of a high court in the state, which restrained the anti-graft agency from arresting him when he learned that his Abuja residence had been invaded.

Oluwole said that whatever the circumstances, the EFCC or any other government agencies should never be tempted to in on the military in effecting the arrest of Nigerians under whatever guise, more so in a democracy.

According to the statement: "As a responsible body, the EFCC, being a creation of the law under the Nigerian Constitution, is to invite or arrest any Nigerian for questioning in the course of performing its duties not in a hard way.

"However, we do not support the threat on Thursday by the anti-graft agency to draft in the military in its effort to arrest Yahaya  Bello, a former Governor of Kogi State, on a court order, over allegations of money laundering.

"While we urge the EFCC agency, should not be on the template bringing in the military to arrest Nigerians no matter the provocation.

"The consequences of drafting in the military to handle ordinary civil, and even criminal cases in a democratic setting are unhealthy for our Democracy.

"The labours of our Country's Democracy heroes and forefathers, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, should not be jeopardized.

"We call upon EFCC to handle the matter in a peaceful way as part of democracy. it should be a ministry of understanding in handling things, not in a war or hard way. "Oluwole, in its statement, said, "While we acknowledge the EFCC's mandate to combat corruption, "call upon them to uphold the rule of law throughout the entire process." 

The Yoruba Youth group emphasized the importance of due process and a fair trial for Yahaya Bello not to be intimated.

The statement further recognizes the role of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as a champion of Nigerian democracy,  expressing hope that Mr. Tinubu's experience can contribute to a peaceful resolution.

"We urged the EFCC to maintain a peaceful approach, open communication and understanding should guide this process, not forceful tactics."

Comrade Oluwole, therefore, called for a swift and transparent resolution that upholds the law and strengthens Nigeria's democratic institutions.

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