EFCC Places Former Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello on INTERPOL Watch-List in North Africa

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has escalated efforts to apprehend former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello by requesting INTERPOL in three North African countries—Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria—to place him on a watch-list. This move, reported over the weekend, is part of a broader strategy based on credible intelligence to ensure Bello’s presence at an upcoming court hearing.

Additional countries where Bello has been put on the watch-list include Egypt, Libya, and Sudan. Sources within the anti-graft agency disclosed that multiple options are being considered to address the situation, including a potential raid on the Kogi State Government House in Lokoja, where Bello is believed to be hiding.

The watch-list activation comes ahead of the former governor’s expected court appearance on July 17th before a Federal High Court in Abuja. Bello faces a 19-count charge for alleged money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of public funds totaling approximately ₦80.2 billion.

Despite denying the allegations, Bello has repeatedly failed to appear before the trial judge, Justice Emeka Nwite, on June 13th and June 27th. At the last hearing, he filed an application seeking to transfer his trial to the Federal High Court in Lokoja.

An EFCC source commented on the situation, saying, “Ahead of the next hearing of the case, EFCC has activated many options, including taking a concrete action to watch-list Bello in North Africa. We are aware of a botched exit to Morocco via Cameroon. We are determined to stop him from going on exile.”

The source further revealed that the EFCC Executive Chairman, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, was in Tunisia after attending a session on illicit financial flows in Singapore. There, he met with the heads of INTERPOL in North Africa to discuss the intelligence on Bello, formally requesting his placement on a Red Alert in the region—a request that was accepted.

“He will be arrested in any part of North Africa,” the source affirmed. “We took this step because we suspect that he had been biding time to avoid arraignment. We expect Bello to be in court to prove his innocence. The EFCC has to do its work to avoid setting a bad precedent.”

During the last court hearing, Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), applied to withdraw his appearance for the ex-governor. Adedipe also informed the court of an application before the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to transfer the case (no: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024) to Lokoja, citing Section 45 of the Federal High Court Establishment Act.

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