• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Former ECOWAS Court of Justice vice president criticises EFCC chairman’s press conference on Yahaya Bello

Yahaya Bello: A white lion or a big cat?

Nwoke Friday Chijioke, former vice president of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, has expressed concerns about the press conference held by the Ola Olukoyede, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), regarding Yahaya Bello, ex-governor of Kogi State.

Speaking on Channels Television on Thursday, Chijioke questioned the EFCC’s method, calling it an unfair trial and akin to a media trial.

He highlighted the need for confidentiality in such proceedings, pointing out that justice institutions like the EFCC ought to carry out investigations privately without media involvement.

“The EFCC chairman’s press conference of yesterday was really uncalled for. That is unfair trial. All these challenges are because of what I would call a media trial.

”An institution of justice should be in a position, especially when you are the investigator, carry out a discrete investigation. You do not need to involve the media.

”For example, the EFCC’s chairman interview yesterday was really, really uncalled for. It was uncalled for in the sense that you do not need to accord any privilege to Yahaya Bello.

“The law does not require the according or the giving of privileges to persons who are suspected of having committed an offense. That is one.

”Secondly, the law necessarily does not need, especially in situations of this nature. In corruption cases, you don’t necessarily need to make an arrest. You don’t need to bring into custody. Because more often than not, in corruption cases, they are determined by documentary evidence.

”If you make out a prima facie case and you have evidence to make out a prima facie case, why don’t you file a case in court and serve the accused person? Why would you, in the first instance, perhaps advertise or publicize? Because that is, in the first instance, unfair hearing.’’