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I’m willing to appear in court – Yahaya Bello

Former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on Tuesday, prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja to vacate the arrest warrant order issued to the Economic…

Former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on Tuesday, prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja to vacate the arrest warrant order issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against him on April 17.

Bello, through his lawyer Adeola Adedipe, SAN, made the application following an order by Justice Emeka Nwite, directing the EFCC to effect the service of the charge and proof of evidence on the ex-governor’s lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Nwite had, earlier, ordered the EFCC’s lawyer, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, to serve Mohammed, the leading counsel of Bello, with bundles of the charge and the proof of evidence in a ruling today.

The judge, who relied on provisions of Section 382(4) and (5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), held that Mohammed, who announced an unconditional appearance for the defendant, to receive the charge.

However, shortly after the ruling, Adedipe argued that the arrest warrant order, having been made before the charge ought to be set aside suo motu (on its own accord, without any request by the parties involved).

“The defendant wants to come to court but he is afraid that there is an order of arrest hanging on his head,” Adedipe said.

The senior lawyer argued that contrary to Pinheiro’s submission that the ex-governor must be in court first before any application could be entertained being a criminal case, he said the anti-graft agency also made an application on April 18 after the warrant arrest was issued to EFCC on April 17 and that the court granted it

According to him, the complainant made an application for substituted service on 18th day of April after the arrest warrant had been issued on 17th day of April, my noble lord granted it.

“The court must satisfy itself that the defendant (Bello) will not be prejudiced in fairness if the warrant of arrest continues to hang on his neck, having been made before service of the charge contrary to Section 394 of ACJA,” Adeola argued.

The court subsequently fixed May 10 for ruling on the application seeking setting aside the April 17 arrest warrant issued against him.

Justice Emeka Nwite fixed the date after Pinheiro and Adedipe adopted their processes and presented their arguments in the motion.

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