Concerns Raised About Political Persecution in Yahaya Bello’s Arrest—CSOs

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Political persecution claims may be supported by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) hasty arrest of former Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, according to activists affiliated with Anti-corruption Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The Court of Appeal hearing on the EFCC’s request to vacate the restraining order was scheduled to take place in just a few days.

They cautioned the panel from disrespecting the courts in the name of fighting corruption, as is its constitutional duty.

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Civil society organizations and advocates for human rights warned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft authorities against infringing on the rights of purported corruption suspects.

At yesterday’s impromptu press briefing in Lagos, the activists demanded an end to the “both unnecessary and unfortunate” public feud between the EFCC and Yahaya Bello in Abuja.

Attended by many notable figures at the press conference were Comrades Debo Adeniran (executive chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership CACOL), Sina Loremikan (Campaign Against Impunity), Declan Ihekhaire (Activists for Good Governance), Gbenga Soloki (CADOV), Ochiaga Ohaneze (Ohaneze Youth Council), Funmi Jolade (Women Democratic Vanguard), Kola Abe (Centre for Socioeconomic Rights), Ologun Ayodeji (Transparency and Accountability Group), Femi Lawson (Centre for Public Accountability), and Gbenga Ganzallo (Media Rights Campaign).

Adeniran, who spoke to the press in Abuja on Friday, told LEADERSHIP that the EFCC’s decision to take swift action by making an arrest “may lend credence to allegations of political persecution” given that the Court of Appeal hearing on the agency’s request to vacate the restraining order was only a few days away.

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