White Lion Should Not Fear EFCC Eagle”: Kogi Govt’s Defense Of Ex-Gov. Bello “Unlawful Interference,” — Okutepa SAN Calls For Probe

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Okutepa has called for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to be allowed to carry out its statutory duties in investigating the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, without interference from the state government....READ FULL ARTICLE

Okutepa’s statement comes in response to comments made by the Kogi State Commissioner of Information, Kingsley Fawon, who had earlier issued a statement defending the former governor and claiming that no money belonging to the state was stolen during Bello’s tenure from 2015 to 2024.

The senior lawyer expressed his disappointment with Fawon’s statement, emphasizing that the commissioner’s office does not extend to defending private persons who have been accused of violating penal laws. Okutepa further pointed out that Fawon does not have immunity from criminal arrest and prosecution, and his statement constitutes unlawful interference with the EFCC’s duties.

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“Yahaya Bello is no longer the governor of Kogi State. Therefore, the resources of Kogi State must not and should not be deployed by Kingsley Fawon to launder the battered image of Yahaya Bello by press states attributable to the Government of Kogi State,” Okutepa stated.

The senior advocate also highlighted that it is an abuse of office, contrary to the 5th schedule of the 1999 constitution, for Fawon to use his position to defend and protect Bello, who is no longer in the employ of the Kogi State government.

Okutepa emphasized that the EFCC does not require the Kogi State government to report crimes allegedly committed by Bello before investigating and prosecuting him.

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He noted that the former governor is alleged to have committed crimes against the people of Kogi State, and the state’s resources should not be used to shield him from investigation.

“Yahaya Bello is known and addressed as the White Lion. Lions are known to be bold and courageous. The symbol of EFCC is just an ordinary Eagle. Why should the White Lion run away or be afraid of invitations from Eagle?” Okutepa questioned.

The senior lawyer called for Bello’s immediate arrest, demanding that the former governor be given the opportunity to state his side of the story and give an account of his stewardship from 2015 to 2024.

If his explanations are found to be illogical, Okutepa insisted that Bello must be prosecuted in accordance with the penal laws of the land.

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Okutepa also criticized Fawon for prematurely defending Bello in the media, stating that it is a direct interference with the statutory functions of the judiciary and the EFCC. He emphasized that Fawon, as a commissioner, is not an official of the EFCC or a judicial officer and that his statements are outside the scope of his duties.

In conclusion, Okutepa called for the EFCC to be allowed to carry out its investigations without interference, stating that the people of Kogi State are united in their belief that Bello’s regime was marked by wanton looting of public funds and the unleashing of thuggery on the populace. He urged the EFCC to locate Bello and hear his side of the story in accordance with the law....READ FULL ARTICLE

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