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Respite For Yahaya Bello Still Far As Court Restates Order For His Arrest

Respite may still be far for the embattled former governor of Kogi, Yahaya Bello as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has restated the order it made on April 17, which directed security agencies to arrest and produce him before it to answer to the 19-count charge that is pending against him.

The court, in the ruling that was delivered by Justice Emeka Nwite, on Friday further chided Bello for seeking reprieve while in hiding, accusing him of attempting to truncate the criminal case that was initiated against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

According to the court, the former governor, by briefing lawyers to challenge its jurisdiction to try him, while he remained in hiding, showed that he “has no atom of respect and regard for the court.”

It held that Bello’s decision to file the application “is clearly showing his intention not to present himself for trial,” stressing that he ought to have made himself available upon becoming aware of the order of arrest that was issued against him.

“The law is settled that he who disobeyed an order of court and shown disrespect to the court cannot expect a favourable discretion of the court.

“The honourable thing the defendant would have done was to obey the order of court by making himself available.

“Section 287 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, mandates all persons and authority to give effect to orders of court.

“He has willfully disobeyed the order of this court. An order of court of competent jurisdiction, no matter how it was obtained, subsists until it is set aside.

“A party who refuse to obey an order of court after becoming aware of it, is in contempt of court.

“He is not entitled to be heard or granted a favourable discretion. The refusal of the defendant to make himself available is solely to truncate the arraignment and prevent the court from proceeding further in this case.

“Refusal of the defendant to make himself available in an attempt to truncate this court and make it practically impossible for the court to assume jurisdiction in this criminal trial.

“He ought to make himself available. He cannot sit in the comfort of his home to file applications before this court.

“The defendant has no atom or regard for the court. Clearly, the defendant is taking this court for granted.”

Justice Nwite held that Bello’s decision to treat the order of the court with levity, was previously condemned by the Supreme Court.

“In view of the forgoing analysis, I am of the view and I so hold, that no application can be moved or heard unless the defendant is present before the court to take his plea,” the trial judge held.

Bello, who governed Kogi state for eight years, is facing a charge bordering on his alleged complicity in money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of about N80.2billion.

Among the charges against him by the EFCC was paying the sum of $720,000 school fees for his children using the state government’s funds. The former governor however described the remark as misleading.

 MetroBusinessNews/ a strategic cross-reporting initiative

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