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Yahaya Bello Urges Trial in Kogi State, Writes Court

Yahaya Bello, the former Governor of Kogi State, was noticeably absent during his scheduled arraignment and plea bargain at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday. Instead, his legal team, led by Abdulwahab Mohammed, submitted a letter requesting that the trial be moved to the Kogi High Court in Lokoja, arguing that it has the appropriate jurisdiction to handle the allegations against him.

Adeola Adedipe, one of Bello’s lawyers, informed the court about the letter, stating that it was addressed to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. Adedipe mentioned that the letter was received by the Chief Judge’s Chambers and that the prosecution team was notified of the request. However, he admitted that he was unaware of the prosecution’s response to the Chief Judge’s directive.

Adedipe also mentioned that they had filed an affidavit and attached relevant documents to support their request, but they were not urging the court to take immediate action. Kemi Pinhero, the prosecution counsel, urged the court to compel the defense to explain Bello’s absence, emphasizing that his counsel had previously assured the court of his attendance. Pinhero argued that the letter to the Chief Judge did not exempt Bello from his commitment to appear in court.

Pinhero further contended that forwarding a petition to the National Judicial Council does not halt proceedings in pending cases and called for Bello’s lawyers to be held accountable for their conduct. He urged Justice Emeka Nwite, the trial judge, to dismiss the defense’s actions as attempts to undermine the court.

Bello is facing charges of money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of public funds totaling approximately N80.2 billion, which were brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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