‘Breach of law’ — Oshiomhole faults Ododo for ‘rescuing’ Yahaya Bello during EFCC siege

 

Adams Oshiomhole, senator representing Edo north, has faulted Usman Ododo, governor of Kogi, for his interference in the saga involving Yahaya Bello and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 

The EFCC is accusing Bello, immediate-past governor of Kogi, of money laundering and corruption to the tune of N80.2 billion.

 

BACKGROUND

On April 17, EFCC operatives laid siege to Bello’s Abuja residence in a bid to arrest him for grilling.

 

While the operatives were at the property, Ododo made an entrance.

 

Shortly after Ododo left the residence, the EFCC operatives ended their siege. There were reports that Ododo had surreptitiously whisked Bello away in one of the cars in his convoy.

 

Amid the drama, the Kogi high court delivered judgment in a fundamental rights enforcement suit, restraining the commission from “harassing, threatening to arrest or detaining” the former governor.

 

On the same day, the EFCC obtained a warrant of arrest against Bello from a federal high court in Abuja.

 

Subsequently, the anti-graft agency declared the former governor wanted, while the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) placed Bello on a watchlist.

 

Bello was also absent for an arraignment that was initially scheduled for April 18, citing fear of arrest.

 

‘WRONG USE OF IMMUNITY’

Speaking on Saturday at the national integration conference, Oshiomhole said Ododo’s “rescue” of Bello and the former governor’s refusal to show up in court, constitutes a breach of the law.

 

The conference which had ‘Revisiting the national question: Nigeria’s elusive search for national integration’ as its theme, was organised by the Kukah Centre.

 

The senator also urged citizens to speak up against breaches of the law — irrespective of who is involved.

 

“If you are afraid, given the fact that you are very vocal, you are independent, you cannot be dismissed, you cannot be promoted or demoted… if you are afraid to mention the name of a former governor who breached the law and a sitting governor who used his immunity to cover a governor that lost immunity, where will the courage come from?” Oshiomhole said.

 

 “This sophistry of saying we can name the child of a poor man who steal(s) a goat but we are afraid to mention the name of a big man who breached the law, that for me is at the root of our problems.”

 

‘ALL CHILDREN MUST HAVE ACCESS TO EDUCATION’

Bello had also allegedly paid $760,910 in advance fees to the American International School Abuja (AISA) for five of his children from the coffers of the Kogi state government.

 

The children are in grade levels 2 to 8 at the school.

Oshiomhole said during his spell as Edo governor, his colleagues denied children of the poor access to education.

 

“As a former governor, I was a member of the national economic council (NEC) where some state governors argued that they did not have the resources to pay 50 percent subsidy in order to ensure that the children of the poor go to school even when those governors are sending their own children abroad,” Oshiomhole added.

 

The former Edo governor said leaders must possess the political will to implement laws they enact.

 

“What I consider to be the most important investment, namely, that never should a child be born in this country and be denied access to go to school,” he said.

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