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Yahaya Bello: Lawyer to withdraw from representing Fugitive ex-Governor



Yahaya Bello: Lawyer withdraws representation

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Adeola Adedipe, on Thursday applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja to withdraw his legal representation for the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Bello faces a 19-count charge involving alleged complicity in money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of public funds amounting to approximately N80.2 billion.

During the scheduled arraignment, Yahaya Bello was absent, prompting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to call for the court to sanction his lawyers.

The EFCC’s lead counsel, Mr. Kemi Pinhero, SAN, requested the trial judge to hold the lawyers accountable for failing to ensure Bello’s presence, citing Order 31(3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for legal practitioners. Pinhero argued that the lawyers’ actions amounted to misconduct and contempt.

“My lord, our application is that since one of the lawyers is present in court, he should be moved to the dock and dealt with summarily, that is what the law says,” Pinhero stated.

He emphasized the need for disciplinary action to uphold the judiciary’s integrity, comparing the situation to high-profile cases involving significant figures.

In response, Adedipe, SAN, denied being Bello’s lead counsel or making any undertaking to secure his client’s presence.

He accused the EFCC of disrespecting the court by failing to execute the arrest warrant for Yahaya Bello. Adedipe’s team had previously informed the court of their unawareness of Bello’s whereabouts.

“My lord, the narration by the prosecution counsel is very untrue and it is accentuated by malice. I am not the lead counsel in this matter,” Adedipe argued. Citing section 349(8) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, he formally requested to withdraw from the case.

The EFCC, however, contended that it was too late for Adedipe to withdraw.

“My lord, he should be used to set an example that this is not a lottery game. His request to withdraw is only an afterthought and it should not be countenanced by this court,” Pinhero asserted, urging the court to immediately dock Adedipe.

The court is yet to make a ruling on the matter, with the legal drama continuing to unfold in the high-profile case against the former Kogi State governor.