N80bn Fraud: EFCC Blames System, Nigerians For Shielding Yahaya Bello

  • Describes former gov’s action as national embarrassment 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says the political leaders and Nigerians are  culpable and actively encouraging former Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, to ridicule the Nigerian justice system over N80.2 billion fraud allegations against him. l

The anti-corruption Commission said by failing to present himself for trial in court with the system and some powerful Nigerians colluding to effectively shield him from justice, Bello, has, by his deliberate actions, badly dented Nigeria’s image among the comity of nation.

These views were expressed by the EFCC acting Zonal Director, Benin Zonal Command, Mr Effa Okim, during a visit to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council in Asaba, the State capital on Wednesday.

Okim, who was responding to a question on the Commission’s failure to bring in Bello weeks after being declared wanted, retorted; “This is the last question I expected because the shame is on all of us. Is that a question I should answer alone?

It’s not me, it is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That politically-exposed Yahaya Bello, whose crime has been traced to him by allegation and has been invited by EFCC to come and explain, and for months he is acting drama and we are all here wanting to ask questions!

“The shame is our own shame! Can’t we catch him? We can, but do we go all out to catch him? Do we need to do that when he has his masters? Can’t they call him and tell him, ‘You are disgracing Nigeria’? What are you telling the world? Tell him to go and explain himself like others have done.

“Where are the Ministers? Where are Yahaya Bello’s colleagues, even in his hiding? So, Nigerians can’t tell him ‘This is not fair, go and report; they are not going to kill you’? But people are still eating and dining with him.”

Specifically claiming that Bello was being shielded by the system, the EFCC’s Zonal Director said beyond legality, there was a moral aspect of the case, adding; “Where has morality gone before legality that we can’t summon that man and tell him to go and report himself to the EFCC?

“Some persons are writing, supporting him, while some are criticizing the commission. The problem is our own problem that borders on Nigeria’s image. Our children are watching their parents behave like children.

“To me, the truth has vanished. Even in Animal Farm, this will not happen, that a man who was part of the system that was a custodian of our culture, rules and laws can behave like this and you are asking questions.”

Also turning his unhappiness towards the media industry, Okim said; “The media should come out for the first time to harmonise, and criticise that action. Forget about prosecution but tell him to make himself available; thereafter we know what to do.” 

He lamented that the criminal justice system had been ridiculed by Bello’s actions, adding; “And because we respect the law, we want to go by the process, we are inhibited that does not make us weak.”

In his remarks during the visit,  Chairman of NUJ Delta State Council, Churchill Oyowe, said journalists in the state were ready to support the anti-graft agency at all times for the overall good of the country and Nigerians.

He assured the Commission that the  Council would not pander to selfish interests and ill-winds seeking to sabotage the fight against corruption in the overall good of the country and Nigerians.

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