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FG places Yahaya Bello on watch list over alleged N80bn money laundering, as IG withdraws policemen attached to him
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FG places Yahaya Bello on watch list over alleged N80bn money laundering, as IG withdraws policemen attached to him

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The Federal Government on Thursday put the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, on its watchlist to prevent him from escaping from the country.

The Nigerian Immigration Service, in a circular dated April 18, 2024 and signed by Assistant Comptroller of Immigration DS Umar, for the Comptroller-General, Kemi Nandap, alerted the police and the Department of State Services to effect the former governor’s arrest.

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This came hours after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission declared Bello wanted in connection to an alleged case of money laundering to the tune of N80.2bn.The EFCC declared Bello wanted on its official Facebook page after failed attempts to arrest him on Wednesday in Abuja.

Also, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN), Bello, on Thursday, disagreed over the foiled attempt by the EFCC to arrest the former governor.

But the NIS, in its circular, copies of which were sent to the DSS and the police, detailed the name, nationality and passport number of the former Governor (B50083321).

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The circular was signed by Assistant Comptroller of Immigration DS Umar, for the Comptroller-General, Kemi Nandap.

Nanadap stated, “I am directed to inform you that the above-named person has been placed on the watch list.

“Suffice to mention that the subject is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court Abuja for Conspiracy, Breach of Trust and Money Laundering vide letter Ref; CR; 3000/EFCC/LS/EGCS.1/ TE/Vide/1/279 dated April 18, 2024.

“If seen at any entry or exit point, he should be arrested and referred to the Director of Investigation or contact 08036226329/07039617304 for further action.”

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IG withdraws policemen attached to Yahaya Bello

The Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, has withdrawn all police officers attached to the embattled former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

The order for the withdrawal was contained in a police wireless message seen by our correspondent on Friday.

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The document with reference number: “CB:4001/DOPS/PMF/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.48/ 34 read in part, “IG has ordered the withdrawal of all policemen attached to His Excellency and former Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

“Acknowledge compliance and treat with utmost importance. Please, above, for your information and strict compliance.”

Meanwhile, some civil society organisations have advised the EFCC not to desecrate the courts in the course of carrying out its constitutional role of fighting corruption.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, the CSOs and human rights crusaders cautioned the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies against trampling on the rights of supposed suspects of corruption to avoid breaking a law to enforce another law.

The media briefing was attended by the Executive Chairman, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran; Sina Loremikan, (Campaign Against Impunity); Declan Ihekhaire, (Activists for Good Governance); Gbenga Soloki, CADOV; Ochiaga Ohaneze, (Ohaneze Youth Council); Funmi Jolade, (Women Democratic Vanguard); Kola Abe, (Centre for Socioeconomic Rights); Ologun Ayodeji, (Transparency and Accountability Group); Femi Lawson, (Centre for Public Accountability) and Gbenga Ganzallo (Media Rights Campaign) and others.

The activists noted specifically that the public face-off between the EFCC and the ex-Kogi state governor was “both unnecessary and unfortunate.”

Adeniran argued that the rush by the EFCC to make an arrest when the Court of Appeal hearing on its application to vacate the restraining order was just in a few days might lend credence to the allegations of political persecution.

Punch/Pacesetter


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