Home Nigeria Workshop Stalls Hearing of EFCC vs Yahaya Bello Case

Workshop Stalls Hearing of EFCC vs Yahaya Bello Case

By Uche Amunike

A workshop for the review of the 2023 Election Petition Tribunal/Courts and Appeals held, Monday in Abuja, has stalled the hearing of the case between former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, Mr. Ola Olukayode.

Olukayode had filed a stay of execution at the Abuja appellate court, through his team of lawyers led by Jibrin Okutepa, against the charges for contempt filed against the EFCC chairman by Yahaya Bello.

Recall that Bello had filed a contempt charge at a Kogi State High Court before Justice Isa Jamil, against Olukayode for carrying out what he termed as ‘some acts upon which the EFCC have been restrained’ by the State High Court on February 9, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive originating motion.

While delivering a ruling on a fundamental human rights suit, filed by Yahaya Bello, Justice Jamil restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the former governor. In a ruling in suit number HCL/68M/2024 and Motion No: HCL/190M/2024, Justice Jamil held that ‘the said act was carried out by the respondent in violation of the order, which is valid and subsisting, when they carried out the act.’

He further held that the EFCC’s act showed contempt, as they laid siege on the residence of the former governor, as early as 8am on April 17, with plans to arrest him even though a court order restraining them from taking such an action pending the examination of the originating motion, was given.

Jamil’s order was based on a motion ex-parte filed by Yahaya Bello, through his lawyer, M.S. Yusuf, where he prayed the court for an order to issue and serve the respondent (EFCC chairman) with Form 49 Notice to show reasons why order of committal should not be made on him. However, the Court of Appeal granted the ex-parte motion for stay of contempt proceedings, filed by the anti-graft agency on May 3.

Olukayode was summoned before the state High Court on May 13, to explain why he should not be committed to prison for disobeying court orders. He, however appealed the ruling of the lower court at the appellate court and sought a stay of the proceedings of the court.

A panel of justices of the Court of Appeal, consisting three members and led by Joseph Oyewole, granted the EFCC application to serve the processes in the appeal by substituted means on Yahaya Bello, on May 3. Hearing of the motion on notice was consequently adjourned by the Court to May 20.

Some lawyers and litigants who were in court on Monday at about 9am, were informed by the registrar that there would be no sitting.

His words: ‘We are holding a workshop, where our judges are in attendance. Therefore, there’s no sitting today.’

‘The next adjourned date will be communicated to counsel to the parties for all cases scheduled for today.’

‘We are sorry for the inconveniences this might have caused’, the registrar stated.

Recall that in April, the EFCC declared Yahaya Bello wanted for offenses, bordering on economic and the financial crimes.16:21

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