June 17, 2024

Court to rule on Yahaya Bello’s request to vacate arrest warrant May 10


The Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed May 10 for ruling in an application by former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, seeking vacation of an arrest warrant issued against him.

Bello canvased on Tuesday that the arrest warrant has become unnecessary since his lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed, has accepted the service of the criminal charges on his behalf in respect of the alleged N80 billion money laundering charge brought against him by the Federal Government.

Although , the former governor was not physically present in court to take his plea, his counsel at the proceeding, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, argued the application in which he prayed Justice Emeka Nwite to vacate the order earlier made for the arrest of his client.

Among others, the senior lawyer submitted that the arrest warrant was issued in favour of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by the court in violation of fair hearing to Yahaya Bello.

Adedipe also argued that the EFCC is an unconstitutional body because its establishment was not ratified by the 36 states of the Federation.

He said that for the EFCC to become a constitutional body, the 36 states of the Federation must ratify the law establishing it as against the current position where he claimed that the EFCC Establishment Act was unilaterally ratified by the Federal Government.

He therefore asked the judge to vacate the arrest warrant against the former governor for the reasons he advanced in his argument.

The request was however vehemently opposed by EFCC which claimed that the application was strange, baseless and premature.

EFCC’s lead lawyer, Kemi Pinhero, SAN, told Justice Nwite that the arrest warrant can only be vacated on the day Yahaya Bello physically appears before the court to take his plea in the charges against him.

The senior lawyer argued that the acceptance of the service of the charge on Bello through his lawyer not withstanding, the arrest warrant has to stay and subsists till the day Bello submits himself to court or is brought to court by the EFCC.

He asked Justice Nwite to discontinuance the claim of the former governor that EFCC is an unconstitutional body.

According to him the National Assembly lawfully passed the bill that led to the establishment of the agency after a presidential assent has been given to the bill.

In the alternative, Pinhero offered Yahaya Bello’s lawyers a soft land opportunity to give an undertaking to the court to produce their client in court on the adjourned date for arraignment .

He said on his own part, he would give undertaking to the court that EFCC will not execute the arrest warrant.

However, Yahaya Bello’s lawyer Adeola Adedipe, SAN, rejected the offer on the ground that it was not necessary and also because the offer is unknown to any law.

Justice Nwite after taking arguments from the two parties fixed May 10 to deliver ruling in the application.

It would be recalled that earlier in the day, the judge had ordered Yahaya Bello’s lead lawyer Abdulwahab Mohammed to accept the charge against Bello on behalf of his client, having unconditionally appeared in court for him and filled processes on his behalf.

The court order was complied with by the lawyer who accepted and acknowledged receipt of the charge in writing.





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