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Federal High Court, Abuja adjourned the arraignment of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello



The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, adjourned the arraignment of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, till June 27, 2024.

Justice Emeka Nwite fixed the date for the arraignment and plea in the money laundering suit instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against Bello.
At the resumed hearing, Bello’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe, told the court that both parties already had a meeting outside the court where they agreed on a date.

He said EFCC’s lead counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, had approached one of Bello’s counsel, AbdulWahab Mohammed, that the June 13 date would not be convenient for them to proceed and both parties discussed by way of convenience for another date to be set.
One of EFCC’s lawyers, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), was however in court and said he was not briefed about the said meeting neither was he in the know of an adjournment.

When the matter was called as it was listed in the case list, Adedipe, who was in court for another matter, expressed surprise that Oyedepo was in court for the matter after the two parties had agreed that junior lawyers would be sent to pick a new date, at the instance of Pinheiro.

He said, “And as senior counsel, it was best agreed by way of convenience for another date.
“It was agreed administratively that junior lawyers be sent to court today to formally take a date as agreed by parties for June 27.

“I personally also approached the registry to confirm this information and it was confirmed to me. That was why I told the court that my appearance today is for another matter.
“What the prosecution has done this morning is an ambush to bring the defendant once again to the realms of social media.”

He also claimed that had the EFCC not approached them to seek an adjournment, Bello would have been present in court for his arraignment.

Citing the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, he said, “Under 266 of ACJA, there are instances when defendants don’t need to come and this is one of them.

“We came here to pick a date. Of what use will the defendant coming here be? It is the prosecuting counsel that approached us, we did not approach them. We have nothing to hide,” Adedipe said.

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