Kogi in diaspora association issues 72hrs ultimatum to EFCC over Yahaya Bello, threatens mass protests

Yahaya Bello

By Maduabuchi Nmeribeh 

The umbrella body of Kogi indigenes living outside the state, Kogi in Diaspora Association, has issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to halt its unwarranted witch-hunt of ex-governor Yahaya Bello.

The group threatened peaceful mass protests and civil disobedience should the anti-graft agency fails to back out from the alleged calculated attempt to tarnish the image of Bello.

The Kogi in diaspora association, in a press statement issued after its meeting on Wednesday in Abuja, rubbished the decision of EFCC to slam corruption charge against the former governor, saying it would not fold its hands and allow  Bello to be ridiculed over baseless allegations.

It lamented that the EFCC’s decision would go a long way to rub off negatively on the investment drive in Kogi State.

The statement signed by the association’s co-covener, Seyi Olorunsola, called for a public apology from EFCC for causing embarrassment to the former governor and people of Kogi State.

The statement reads in full : “Kogi in Diaspora Association, under the leadership of Co-covener Seyi Olorunsola, convened today in Abuja to address the growing concerns over the attempts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to tarnish the image of the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, H.E. Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

“The association vehemently rejects the claim by the EFCC that over N80 billion of Kogi State funds were diverted and misappropriated in September 2015,  months before Governor Yahaya Bello contested and won the Kogi State gubernatorial elections. This assertion is not only contentious but preposterous. How can someone divert state government funds before gaining access to the levers of leadership?

“In light of the association’s deliberations, the following resolutions have been reached: Immediate Reversal and Apology: The Kogi In Diaspora Association demands that the EFCC rescind its ill-informed decision to pursue a smear campaign against ex-Governor Bello. The EFCC should issue a public apology to him and the people of Kogi State for the needless embarrassment caused.

“Impact on Diaspora Investment:* The association expresses concern that the EFCC’s misguided actions will impede efforts to attract investments from its Diaspora citizens. The tarnishing of the state’s image poses a significant setback to economic development initiatives.

“Judicial Clearance: It is emphasized that previous attempts by the EFCC to link Governor Bello to corruption have failed the judicial test in the courts. The EFCC is urged to discontinue its malfeasance against the people of Kogi State.

” Acknowledgment of Governance Achievements: Governor Bello’s commendable performance during his 8-year tenure is acknowledged, and the association advocates for allowing him a deserved breather from the corridors of power as he contemplates future political aspirations.

“Ultimatum to EFCC: The Kogi In Diaspora Association issues a 72-hour ultimatum for the EFCC to halt its unwarranted witchhunt of the former Governor. Failure to comply will result in civil disobedience protests by the association’s members in Abuja and major cities.

“The Kogi In Diaspora Association remains committed to upholding the integrity of Kogi State and its leaders. It urges a swift resolution to this matter to avoid further damage to the state’s reputation and its diaspora investment prospects.”