Kogi Government condemns EFCC’s baseless ‘witch-hunt on Yahaya Bello

The Kogi State government has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of engaging in a “witch hunt” targeting the former governor, Yahaya Bello.

In a statement released on Friday, the Commissioner for Information in Kogi State, Kingsley Fanwo, alleged that the witch-hunt was instigated by certain political figures close to the Presidency with the aim of tarnishing the reputation of the former governor.

The statement emphasized that there were no missing funds and questioned the motives behind the EFCC’s relentless pursuit, urging the commission to refrain from implicating Kogi State in its ongoing investigations.

“We believe that this ignoble agenda is unknown to President Bola Tinubu, who trusted those people with power with the hope that they will use it judiciously for the greatness of our nation.

“Unfortunately, they have decided to use the privileges given to them as tools for political vendetta.

“The amended charges in which the name of the former governor, Bello, was mentioned are false, frivolous, fictitious, and far from the truth. They are cooked-up charges that signpost their desperation to call a dog a bad name to hang it.

“The intention was to sensationalise the whole scenario and promote a media war against the former governor and other officials of government.

“We have seen how low EFCC and its paymasters can go to pander to the political agenda of those afraid of the rising profile of Alhaji Yahaya Bello,” it added.

The state government called on President Bola Tinubu to order a special probe into “what is happening in Kogi State before the EFCC is pushed into being used as a hired gun by political hawks who are acting a selfish and overambitious script.”

It said those who had personal grievances could vent their grievances without dragging the name of Kogi State in the mud.

The commissioner maintained that the Kogi government “believes in transparency, accountability, and probity in line with the trend from 2016”.

Furthermore, the statement read in part, “as a subnational in the Nigerian nationhood, we wish to express our utmost respect for agencies set up to perform specific functions towards the greatness of Nigeria.

“The Kogi State government is also conscientiously committed to the determination of the present administration to stop corruption and fight corruption.

“As an administration, we inherited the zero tolerance for corruption policy from the immediate past administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

“From 2016, the government of Kogi State has continually strengthened its anti-corruption brakes and bumps to ensure the commonwealth of the people works for the common good of Kogites.

“This has won the State Government a lot of credible awards from national and international organisations, including the World Bank.

“The desperation of the EFCC to hastily and for glaring political reasons, hound the immediate past governor on their corruption list is unfortunate and speaks volumes on how we reward altruistic leadership in our nation.

“For the records, we wish to make it clear that Kogi’s funds are not missing and that the EFCC is trying so hard to find what is not missing.

“Therefore, call on the EFCC to desist from mentioning the name of Kogi State in its ongoing persecution, orchestrated by some political actors in and around the Presidency bent on destroying the image of Alhaji Yahaya Bello and Kogi State.

“As a government, we will continue to support the anti-corruption crusade of the Federal Government. However, such a crusade should be based on the rule of law, the purity of conscience, and devoid of political scheming.

“We cannot afford to politicise our fight against corruption. We will continue to have faith in the judiciary to protect our name and integrity.

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“Those who have personal grievances can vent their grievances without dragging the name of Kogi State in the mud. Our government believes in transparency, accountability, and probity, in line with the trend from 2016.

“We also wish to assure the good people of our state that nothing will be spared to protect the integrity of our government.

“Our administration will continue to act in a way that Kogites will be respected wherever they go and for us to retain the respect of our international development partners who have persistently commended our anti-corruption credentials.”

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