The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has vowed to arrest the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, and bring him before the Federal High Court Abuja for arraignment to answer to the charges preferred against him.

This came on the heels of Bello’s counsel, Abdulwahab Muhammed, SAN, refusing to be served in the place of his client who is on the run from the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency, while addressing the court on Thursday through its team of lawyers led by Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, stressed that operatives would execute the arrest warrant against the former governor even if it has to be done by the use of force.

Pinheiro said, “We have to arraign him in court even if we have to use the military. Immunity is only attached to a person and not the building.

“The law allows to break down walls to arrest an evading defendant. Section 284 says all persons are to obey the service of charge.”

Pinheiro had narrated to the court how all efforts to get Bello arrested and bring him before the court for arraignment were obstructed by “someone with immunity.”

“My Lord, I have made an oral application, and I tried to get him arrested yesterday but was prevented by someone with immunity.

He said, “My Lord, what happened yesterday was that he was whisked away by a person with immunity, and we know he is in the home of that person. We will send security agents there to get him even if we have to break in because immunity is not attached to a building.

“If he wants to play games, we will show him that the Constitution is above every individual, and you cannot fight the Constitution.”

Pinheiro continued, “A former President of the United States was charged to court, and he has been appearing for his trial. He did not file all sorts of things to frustrate the case.

“A former governor is filing a fundamental human rights suit. If he says he is innocent, let him come and prove it instead of filing frivolous applications to delay his trial.”

Responding, Bello’s counsel, Muhammed, informed the court that his client had obtained an order from a High Court in Kogi State restraining the anti-graft agency from inviting, arresting or prosecuting him over the instant charge against him.

“Respectfully, My Lord, the defendant had approached a court for his fundamental human right. The High Court in Kogi State,” he said.

Muhammed held that the court had no jurisdiction to do any other thing rather than to take his client’s motion, challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the subsisting charge.

He faulted the EFCC ‘s move to try to get Bello arrested in his Abuja residence while judgment was being delivered on the fundamental human rights suit.

“What happened at Zone 4 Abuja yesterday, where they laid siege to the house of the former governor while he was in Lokoja waiting for judgment in his fundamental right enforcement suit, was unfortunate You don’t issue a warrant against a defendant who is already before the court and who has also briefed lawyers to defend him.

“They wanted the Court of Appeal to vacate the restraining order, but the Appeal Court refused.

“That a court gave an order in the morning, and another court of the same coordinate jurisdiction issues a contrary order in the evening is an invitation to anarchy. The defendant is not a fugitive. He is relying on an order of court to take protection,” Muhammed argued.

He told the court that the issue of arraignment shouldn’t be the bone of contention when his client had not been served.

“We don’t need the arraignment to take place. Your Lordship has to determine the issue of jurisdiction first because it is a threshold issue.

“Moreover, we are yet to be served with any process by the prosecution. You cannot be talking of arraignment when you have not been served,” Bello’s counsel cautioned.

Meanwhile, all efforts to serve Bello’s counsel in the courtroom by the EFCC lawyer were met with stiff rejection as he insisted that he had no authority to take the charge.

Pinheiro said that since Bello’s counsel was in court on behalf of his client, he would proceed to serve him.

“We will now make our service to the counsel who has unconditionally announced his appearance for the defendant,” Pinheiro  said.

Responding, Muhammed stated, “My Lord, we will accept their service if they bring a formal application, not a process.”

Muhammed then told the court they would be challenging the arrest warrant.

After listening to both parties, Justice Emeka Nwite adjourned the matter till Tuesday, April 23, 2024, for ruling and arraignment.