Standoff at Ex-Governor's Residence: EFCC Blocked by Special Forces

Police officers and armed individuals with black uniform and the inscription "Special Forces," obstructed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives from arresting former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello at his Abuja residence. The EFCC team arrived at Bello's residence on Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja, around 9:30am on Wednesday but encountered resistance from both police and the said armed men guarding the premises. 

Earlier in the day, Kogi State Governor Usman Ododo visited Bello amidst tight security measures at his Abuja home. Ododo, accompanied by security personnel and supportive youth demonstrators, arrived at Bello's residence around 2:30pm on Wednesday. Heavy security deployment was sighted at the premises, including EFCC operatives, police, Department of State Security (DSS) personnel, Counter Terrorism Unit members, and Bello's private security team.

As of press time, the reason behind the siege remained unconfirmed, as EFCC spokesperson Dele Oyewale did not respond to inquiries. However, in March 2024, the EFCC had brought charges against Yahaya Bello, his nephew Ali, Dauda Sulaiman, and Abdulsalam Hudu before Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, alleging money laundering amounting to N84 billion. Bello's media office condemned the EFCC's actions, citing a court injunction from the High Court of Justice, Lokoja Division, restraining the commission from harassing, arresting, detaining, or prosecuting him pending the determination of a substantive fundamental rights enforcement action.

The office alleged that the EFCC's siege violated this injunction and accused the agency of pursuing politically motivated vendettas. The EFCC's charges against Bello included money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds totaling N84,062,406,089.88.

The agency claimed that Bello was evading arrest. Prior to these charges, the EFCC had already arraigned Bello's nephew, Ali Bello, for alleged money laundering involving N10 billion belonging to the Kogi State Government. However, the state government dismissed these allegations as baseless, stating that Bello could not have misappropriated state funds before assuming office.

In a statement dated February 7, 2024, the state government accused the EFCC of harboring individuals whose motives contradicted the anti-corruption efforts of the President.

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