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Kogi Makes Strong Case For Yahaya Bello Over EFFC N84bn Fraud Charge

Kogi government has criticized the amended charges as faIse, fictítious, and politically motivated….

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Yahaya Bello

Kogi government has criticized the amended charges as faIse, fictítious, and politically motivated, accusing EFCC of a media wàr.

The Kogi State Government alleges unfair targeting of Yahaya Bello by the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), denying missing funds and urging transparent clarification.

EFCC on Thursday, March 14, 2024 in an 17-count amended charge dragged the former governor before Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja for alleged N84billion money laundering offences, alongside his nephew Ali Bello, Dauda Sulaiman and Abdulsalam Hudu.

The EFCC alleged that the suspects diverted about N100 billion belonging to the state in September 2015 — about four months before Bello assumed office as governor.

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Reacting in a statement on Friday, Kingsley Fanwo, Kogi commissioner for information and communications, said the former governor is squeaky clean.

He also called on the EFCC to desist from mentioning the former governor’s name in its “ongoing persecution”, adding that some political actors are bent on destroying Bello.

“As a subnational in the Nigerian nationhood, we wish to express our utmost respect for agencies set up to perform specific functions towards the greatness of Nigeria,” the statement reads.

“The desperation of the EFCC to hastily and for glaring political reasons, hound the immediate past Governor on their corruption list is unfortunate and speaks volume on how we reward altruistic leadership in our nation.

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“For the records, we wish to make it clear that Kogi’s funds are not missing and that the EFCC is trying so hard to find what is not missing.

“We therefore call on the EFCC to desist from mentioning the name of Kogi State in its ongoing persecution, orchestrated by some political actors in and around the Presidency bent on destroying the image of Alh. Yahaya Bello and Kogi State.

“The amended charges in which the name of the former Governor was mentioned are false, frivolous, fictitious and far from the truth. They are cooked-up charges that signpost their desperation to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

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“The intention was to sensationalize the whole scenario and promote a media war against the former Governor and other officials of Government.”

‘KOGI CALLS FOR TINUBU’S INTERVENTION’

The Kogi government also called on President Bola Tinubu to order a special probe into the matter.

It added that it will continue to support the anti-corruption crusade of the federal government

“The Kogi State Government wishes to call on Mr President to order a special probe into what is happening in Kogi State before the EFCC is pushed into being used as a hired gun by political hawks who are acting a selfish and overambitious script,” the statement added.

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“As a Government, we will continue to support the anti-corruption crusade of the Federal Government, howbeit, such crusade should be based on the rule of law, purity of conscience and devoid of political scheming.

“We cannot afford to politicize our fight against corruption. We will continue to have faith in the judiciary to protect our name and integrity.

“Those who have personal grievances can vent their grievances without dragging the name of Kogi State in the mud. Our Government believes in transparency, accountability and probity in line with the trend from 2016.

“We also wish to assure the good people of our State that nothing will be spared to protect the integrity of our Government.

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“Our administration will continue to act in a way that Kogites will be respected wherever they go and for us to retain the respect of our international development partners who have persistently commended our anti-corruption credentials.

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