EFCC Appeals Yahaya Bello’s Court Ruling, Cites Jurisdiction and Rights Errors

by Ohepo Ohepo

LOKOJA – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has formally appealed a recent ruling by the High Court of Kogi State regarding a case involving Alhaji Yahaya Bello, escalating the legal battle to the Court of Appeal.

In documents filed earlier this week, the EFCC argues that the High Court in Lokoja lacked jurisdiction over the original suit brought against Yahaya Bello, questioning the legal basis of the case which centers around allegations of fundamental rights violations. According to the EFCC, the proceedings initiated by Bello did not sufficiently demonstrate any breach, or potential breach, of his constitutional rights as required under section 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

The appeal outlines several key points of contention, notably that the original motion and supporting affidavits provided by Bello on February 8, 2024, failed to reveal any factual basis for claiming an infringement of his fundamental rights. Instead, the EFCC contends that the documents primarily disclose allegations related to crimes of corruption and economic offenses.

Moreover, the EFCC criticizes the trial judge’s decision to defer the evaluation of whether the case presented a reasonable cause of action to a stage where evidence would be heard. The commission asserts that this approach was premature and speculative without sufficient grounding in the facts necessary at this preliminary stage.

This legal development marks a significant step in the ongoing scrutiny of Yahaya Bello’s activities, as the EFCC continues its broader efforts to clamp down on corruption and economic crimes within Nigeria. The appeal now moves to the Court of Appeal, where the arguments over jurisdiction and the appropriateness of the fundamental rights claim will be thoroughly examined.

Legal analysts watching the case note that the outcome could set important precedents regarding the limits of fundamental rights protections in cases alleging corruption and could influence how high-profile cases are handled by the judiciary in the future. The legal community and the public await further developments as the Court of Appeal considers the complex legal questions presented in this high-stakes appeal.

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