Yahaya Bello: Lawyers petition UN, UK, seek visa ban for EFCC Chairman

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A group of lawyers, on Friday, said they have written petitions to both the United Nations, the government of the United Kingdom and other international organizations to seek a visa ban against the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Olanipekun Olukoyede.

The legal practitioners, who made the disclosure during a press conference they held in Abuja, accused the EFCC Chairman of disregarding valid court orders and breaching constitutional rights of Nigerians, citing the ongoing case of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

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Speaking through their leader, Mr. Emmanuel Agada, the lawyers, noted that the anti-graft agency has in its bid to subject the former governor to a trial, disregarded subsisting court injunctions.

Agada said that the lawyers were also considering the initiation of processes to block international funding and support to the EFCC, should its Chairman continue to disrespect the judiciary.

A statement the group made available to the media, read: “As young lawyers, we envisage a judiciary where justice is not only done but manifestly seen to be done. It is in our patriotic quest to always pursue ventures that guarantee an independent judiciary that dispenses justice without fear nor Favour that we formed this civil society of lawyers.

“It is in the pursuit of this mandate that we have written to the United Nations High Commission For Human Rights, the United States of America, through its embassy in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, through its Nigerian embassy and the European Union as bastions of democracy and Human Rights to investigate the flagrant disregard of a valid Court Order and breach of constitutional rights of Nigerian citizens by the EFCC chairman, Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede and caution him.

As you know, we have already written to Mr. President who has started on a good trajectory and began to enjoy the massive support of overwhelming majority of Nigerians, to call the EFCC chairman in order not to allow his desperation to use the institution to pursue political objectives to bring this administration to public odium and opprobrium.

“In our petition to the above mentioned bodies, we were strong in our call for the EFCC chairman to be cautioned and should he continue to disregard Court Orders and Injunctions, and trample on the rights of Nigerian citizens, the way he did against former Governor Yahaya Bello, a comprehensive and total Visa Ban must be implemented and international organizations who support the commission via funding must be enjoined to stop forthwith until the commission purges itself of every unconstitutional approach in exercising their constitutional mandate.

“We are aware that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) provides expertise, guidance and support to UN human rights teams. These teams have recorded huge success in many countries through coordinated human rights sustainability initiatives.

“It is why we have called for their intervention to help strengthen our institutions and safeguard human rights and dignity of Nigerian citizens.

Nigerians must begin to take hard decisions to shape our country and its institutions for the better. We must not allow individuals to corrupt the very institutions that brought so much reprieve when corruption ate deep into the very fabrics of our existence.

“Our main objective as lawyers is to push for the respect of the judiciary and stronger institutions whose mandate will never be dictated by political or social affiliations,” the statement further read.

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