New Telegraph

500 Lawyers Storm Supreme Court Over Planned Arrest Of Ex-kogi Gov, Yahaya Bello

No fewer than 500 legal practitioners from across the country, yesterday, stormed the Supreme Court in protest against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC’s move to arrest the immediate past Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, over alleged fraud.

The lawyers described EFCC’s approach as illegal. In a statement signed by its co-convener, SK Alewu, the group lamented the EFCC’s attempt to arrest the former governor despite being served a valid court order that restrains them from doing so.

Alewu noted that not only has Bello’s fundamental rights been breached, he said the judiciary has become willing tools in the hands of enemies of our rule of law. The lawyers, therefore, urged the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) and President Bola Tinubu to call the EFCC to order to stop further abuse and disobedience of court orders.

The statement read in part: “It has become pertinent, again, that we address well-meaning Nigerians on the current attacks on the judiciary by the very institutions created by law to enforce and guarantee the sanctity of our judicial processes.

“As young lawyers, we envisage a judiciary where justice is not only done but also seen to be manifestly done. It is in our patriotic quest to always pursue ventures that guarantee an independent judiciary that dispenses justice without fear nor favour that we formed this civil society of lawyers.

“We are, therefore, perturbed that desperate politicians and corrupt elements in our polity are working very assiduously to bring the judiciary that sacrificed its all to guard its jurisdiction jealously under the military regime to public odium and opprobrium.

“It is more worrisome that even the very institutions that are created by law to enforce our laws have become willing tools in the hands of enemies of our rule of law and the judiciary to harangue our judges and bring the justice system to public ridicule.

“The current case between the EFCC and Gov Yahaya is the most heinous of such instances. It is sickening that the Commission will move to lay siege and even attempt to arrest the former governor of Kogi State, despite being served a valid court order that restrains them from doing so and without vacating the said order.

“The events of the past few days are capable of eroding the many gains and national acclaim the Commission recorded and enjoys from majority of Nigerians who sees the establishment of the Commission as the greatest intervention to the endemic corruption that has rocked our public service and government institutions since the return of Nigeria to democracy in 1999.

“The only succour is that the current President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, is a leader who gave his all to sustain our democracy. The President, at a point, became a victim of political witch-hunt. “We have submitted petitions to the Nigerian Judicial Council and the President, asking that they use their good offices to call the EFCC to order and stop any form of abuse and disobedience of court orders.”

In a related development, hearing in the appeal filed by the EFCC against the judgment of the Kogi State High Court, which barred the EFCC from arresting the former governor was stalled at the Court of Appeal yesterday.

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