Court Issues Fresh Directive in Yahaya Bello's Criminal Case

In a recent development, the Federal High Court in Abuja has expressed strong disapproval of the alleged attempts made by the immediate former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to obstruct the ongoing criminal case filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a recent ruling, reiterated the court’s previous order from April 17, instructing security agencies to apprehend and present Bello before the court to address the 19-count charge pending against him.

The court found that the ex-governor’s actions, including instructing lawyers to contest its jurisdiction while evading authorities, demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the court.

It stressed that by filing the application, Bello indicated his unwillingness to participate in the trial and should have surrendered himself upon being informed of the arrest warrant.

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Justice Nwite emphasized that disobeying an order of the court and showing disrespect to the court would not lead to a favorable discretion from the court.

He cited the constitutional mandate for all persons and authorities to give effect to court orders and highlighted Bello’s willful disobedience, considering it contempt of court.

The judge stated that Bello’s refusal to make himself available aimed to prevent the court from proceeding further in the case, indicating his disregard for the court and attempt to truncate the trial.

He noted that the Supreme Court had previously condemned Bello’s decision to treat the court’s order lightly.

Justice Nwite concluded that no application could be moved or heard unless the defendant was present before the court to take his plea.

Bello, who governed Kogi state for eight years, faces charges related to money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of public funds totaling approximately N80.2 billion.