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Court delivers ruling on Yahaya Bello’s application to vacate arrest warrant May 10

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, fixed May 10 for ruling on an application by former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, seeking an order of setting aside the April 17 arrest warrant issued against him.

Justice Emeka Nwite fixed the date after counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, and the ex-governor’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, adopted their processes and presented their arguments in the motion.

Justice Nwite had, April 17, issued an arrest warrant to EFCC for Bello’s arrest.

The order was made after lawyer to the anti-graft agency, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, moved the ex-parte application to the effect.

The EFCC had also, on April 18, made an application for a substituted service of its bundles of charge and proof of evidence against Bello after the ex-governor’s lead lawyer, Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN, declined to receive the documents in the open court.

The judge then adjourned until today for ruling.

However, after the judge directed the EFCC to effect the service of the charge and proof of evidence on Mohammed, who announced an unconditional appearance for Bello in the last adjourned date, Adedipe prayed the court to set aside the arrest warrant.

He argued that the arrest warrant order, having been made before the charge ought to be set aside suo motu (on its own accord, without any request by the parties involved).

The senior lawyer argued that contrary to Pinheiro’s submission that the ex-governor must be in court first before any application could be entertained being a criminal case, he said the anti-graft agency also made an application on April 18 after the warrant arrest was issued to EFCC on April 17 and that the court granted it

According to him, the complainant made an application for substituted service on 18th day of April after the arrest warrant had been issued on 17th day of April and today, judge granted it.

“The court must satisfy itself that the defendant (Bello) will not be prejudiced in fairness if the warrant of arrest continues to hang on his neck, having been made before service of the charge contrary to Section 394 of ACJA,” Adeola argued.

He argued that justice should be a three-way traffic; that is, justice to the prosecution, the defendant and the public.

He said for Bello to appear in court, he must have the notion that he would get justice.

But Pinheiro argued that for the arrest warrant to be vacated, the former governor must be arraigned and his plea taken.

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