METRO/CRIME

Turn Yourself In For EFCC Probe- FG Tells Bello

 

The Federal Government has urged the immediate-past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to cooperate with ongoing investigations into alleged corrupt practices during his tenure.

FG made this known in a statement on Thursday through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.

Bello who recently evaded arrest by the help of current Kogi Governor, Usman Ododo, has been the subject of allegations by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Emphasizing the legal authority of the EFCC to summon any Nigerian citizen for questioning, the AGF criticized the use of immunity by Ododo to shield Bello from arrest.

The statement further reiterated the resolve of the present administration to upholding the rule of law and ensuring accountability, asserting that no individual’s rights would be unjustly infringed upon in the process.

The statement read in part:“The bizarre drama confronting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the course of its efforts to perform its statutory duty has come to my notice (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice) as a matter of very grave concern.

“It is now beyond doubt that the EFCC is given power by the law to invite any person of interest to interact with them in the course of their investigation into any matter regardless of status. Therefore, the least that we can all do when invited, is not to put any obstruction in the way of EFCC but to honourably answer their invitation.

“A situation where public officials who are themselves subject of protection by law enforcement agents will set up a stratagem of obstruction to the civil and commendable efforts of the EFCC to perform its duty is to say the least, insufferably disquieting. A flight from the law does not resolve issues at stake but only exacerbates it.”

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While asserting that a commitment to upholding the rule of law would enable state institutions operate effectively, the statement encouraged individuals summoned by agencies like the EFCC to comply with invitations rather than attempting to evade them.

“I state unequivocally that I stand for the rule of law and will promptly call EFCC and indeed any other agency to order when there is indication of any transgression of the fundamental rights of any Nigerian by any of the agencies but I also tenaciously hold the view that institutions of State should be allowed to function effectively and efficiently. Nigeria has a vibrant judicial system that is capable of protecting everyone who follows the rule of law in seeking protection.

“I therefore encourage anyone who has been invited by the EFCC or any other agency to immediately toe the path of decency and civility by honouring such invitation instead of embarking on a temporising self-help and escapism that can only put our country in bad light before the rest of the world,” he added.

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