Home News Impeach Kogi governor for shielding Yahaya Bello from arrest, lawyer demands

Impeach Kogi governor for shielding Yahaya Bello from arrest, lawyer demands

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A human rights lawyer, Deji Ajare has urged the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Umar Yusuf to begin impeachment proceedings against the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Usman Ododo over allegations of misconduct and abuse of office.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker, through the Clerk of the House on Friday, Ajare said that the use of the governor’s motorcade to ferry away the embattled former governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello amounted to the harbouring of a fugitive, obstruction of justice, and the misuse of state resources.

The governor whisked away his predecessor at about 4:20 pm on Wednesday, after operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) besieged the latter’s Abuja residence, to arrest him in connection with an N80.2 billion money laundering case.

Following his escape, the EFCC declared the ex-governor wanted, while the Nigeria Immigration Service placed him on its watchlist. The Inspector General of Police also has directed the withdrawal of all Police units attached to the former governor.

In his letter, Ajare also called on the assembly to cooperate with the EFCC and ensure all individuals involved are available for questioning and investigations.

“In the light of the above allegations and the inherent potential breaches of statutory duties imposed by the Constitution and other relevant laws of our country, these actions, if proven true, amount to gross misconduct and warrant immediate investigation and commencement of impeachment proceedings.

“I hereby call on the Kogi State House of Assembly under your leadership to initiate a thorough inquiry into these allegations by Section 188 of the Nigerian Constitution, to ascertain the truth and to hold Governor Usman Ododo accountable if the allegations are found to be true.

“I also urge the Kogi State House of Assembly to cooperate with national law enforcement agencies, including the EFCC, to ensure all individuals involved are available for questioning and to facilitate a smooth investigation”, he said.

He further implored the House of Assembly to take swift and decisive actions, noting the effect of the “misgovernance implied in these allegations” on the people of the state.

“I thank you as I look forward to your urgent attention to this issue. I trust in your commitment to uphold the Constitution and the laws of our land for the betterment of our state and its people”.

However, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Mohammed Yabagi said neither the Clerk nor the Speaker had received such a letter.

He added that the House had not seen any valid reasons to begin impeachment processe against the governor and that there was no evidence that the governor prevented security agencies from arresting Bello.

“Anybody in the public has their perception of the matter. But the House has not seen any reason, none of the members of the House were there, and none of them saw the governor trying to prevent the security agencies from doing their job. As far as the Assembly is concerned, the Assembly supports all constitutionally recognised security agencies. We have not seen any reason why the House should commence any impeachment processes.

“For context, as far as the Executive is concerned, the immediate past governor was not even at his Abuja residence, and there’s no concrete evidence that the Executive Governor prevented them from doing their constitutionally recognised job. The House is yet to receive such a letter, and the Speaker is yet to have any knowledge of such a letter”, he said.

The state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo debunked reports that Ododo helped Bello and beat security operatives who wanted to arrest him.

In an interview with Channels TV on Thursday, Fanwo said that the governor was committed to upholding the laws of the country, including respecting its legal processes.

“Governor Ododo did not assist in Bello’s departure from his residence; the EFCC’s claims are misinformation aimed at furthering their objectives. Bello is not evading anyone; the existing court injunction protects his fundamental rights”, he said.

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