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Mr. Yahaya Bello, ex-Kogi Governor

Why is ex-gov. Bello afraid of arrest? Asks ex-Presidential spokesman, commends EFCC’s Chairman

Veteran journalist and former presidential spokesman, Laolu Akande, pulled no punches as he dissected the alleged corruption evasion tactics of former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello during his impactful popular talk show, “Inside Sources,” aired on Channels TV, on Friday, wondering why ex-governor is afraid of arrest.

In his “My Take” segment titled “The Challenge of Corrosive Corruption Part Two,” opening the programme for the week, Akande delivered a scathing critique of Bello’s reported manoeuvres to dodge a corruption probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Akande’s opening salvo set the tone: “Nigerians have witnessed a melodrama even Nollywood couldn’t deliver,” emphasising the gravity of Bello’s actions.

Delving into the details, Akande commenting on the startling revelations about a hefty pre-payment made to the American International School in Abuja for Bello’s children’s education, made it known that, “The EFCC has secured a refund of over $700,000 paid by Bello’s nephew, Ali Bello, as advance prepaid school fees for their children.”

This payment, Akande said the EFCC had labelled as a proceed of crime, and as such called it a potential front for money laundering.

Akande, who chided the former governor over details suggesting his fear of arrest, said, “In court this week, his lawyer said he’s afraid of an arrest,” adding, “It turns out that unknown to many people, besides the several other billions which Bello was alleged to have stolen, the EFCC has also secured a refund of over $700,000 paid in by his nephew Ali Bello, who is the current Chief-of-Staff to the governor of Kogi State.”

He also questioned the actions of the current Kogi State Governor, Usman Ododo, claiming that last week Governor Usman Ododo, allegedly whisked his predecessor, Yahaya Bello away to prevent the EFCC from arresting him in Abuja.

“Last week Governor Usman Ododo, allegedly whisked his predecessor, Yahaya Bello away to prevent the EFCC from arresting him in Abuja. Both of them their conducts are a big shame on all of us as a people and a country. Why? Because the world is watching.

“A former state governor is running away from the hands of the law and he is being aided by the incumbent. We have a former governor behaving like a fugitive, but specifically, why is Bello afraid of arrest?”

He also raised eyebrows at the school’s acceptance of such a large sum, contrary to its policy limiting pre-payments to two years.

“When the EFCC interrogated the head of the American School, Mr. Greg Hughes and other officials of the American International School, Abuja, the school refunded the money that is, $700 thousand which had removed the current school fees of the children.

“But the question is why did the American International School, Abuja, collect excess funds from the Bellos beyond the regular fees in the first instance, since according to their own laws, they shouldn’t take more than two years, that’s a big question,” Akande wondered.

However, in contrast to his scathing criticism of Bello, Akande reserved praise for the EFCC’s handling of the case. “The EFCC operatives have shown commendable restraint,” he remarked, signalling a departure from heavy-handed tactics in favour of due process.

Akande’s commendation extended to the EFCC’s leadership, as he applauded their resolve in pursuing corruption allegations with vigour.

“On the contrary, the EFCC operatives in this case unlike what happened during the Rochas Okorocha incident have exercised restraint by not destroying property to affect the arrest, and that’s a testament to the maturity of the new leadership of the EFCC.

“We must commend that leadership, we must also commend the resolve with which the new chairman of the EFCC is pursuing some of these important corruption allegations. The corrosion of corruption is bad for us as a country and as a people and when we find those who are trying to stop it, we owe it to ourselves to applaud them, so good job Mr. Olukoyede,” Akande said.

Alternately, Akande, directing his message squarely at Bello, issued a direct challenge: “You can still redeem yourself by cooperating with the EFCC. Submit yourself to the law.” He underscored the importance of accountability and the need for consequences in combating corruption.

“To Alhaji Yahaya Bello, you can still redeem yourself, if you show up and submit yourself to the EFCC, after all, this is a bailable offence.

“As we said last week, whenever and wherever we see any appearance of corruption, it is up to us as a people to not only frown at it but to ensure that due process takes its effect and that the suspects have their day in court.”

Akande, therefore urged Bello to cooperate with the EFCC, saying: “There have been several governors who have undergone EFCC investigation and in many instances submitted themselves freely for arrest,” citing former Governor Fayose as an example.

“For instance, former governor Fayose, actually dramatically showed up at the EFCC soon after his tenure and he is even from an opposition party, but now Yahaya Bello, who is a member of a ruling party by his own action of running away from the law with this public prank may have damaged his reputation very badly,” Akande said.

Concluding, Akande charged Nigerians, saying, “When corruption is established there must be consequences. The interest of Nigerians is larger than any other interest and there you have my take for the week”

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