EFCC Asks Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria To Watch-List Yahaya Bello

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has requested INTERPOL in three North African countries—Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria—to watch-list former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello. This action was revealed over the weekend, based on credible intelligence gathered by the EFCC.

In addition to these countries, Bello has also been watch-listed in Egypt, Libya, and Sudan. Sources within the anti-graft agency indicated that various measures are being considered to address the situation, including potentially storming the Kogi State Government House in Lokoja, where Bello is believed to be hiding.

The watch-listing is in anticipation of Bello’s scheduled court appearance on July 17 before a Federal High Court in Abuja. He faces a 19-count charge for alleged money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of public funds totaling approximately N80.2 billion. Despite denying these allegations, Bello has repeatedly failed to appear before the trial judge, Justice Emeka Nwite, on June 13 and June 27.

At the most recent hearing, Bello submitted an application to transfer his trial to the Federal High Court in Lokoja. His ongoing absence and the serious nature of the charges have prompted the EFCC to take stringent measures to ensure his accountability.

Speaking in the situation, the EFCC source said: “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.”

“From Singapore, the EFCC Executive Chairman, Mr. Ola Olukoyede was in Tunisia where he delivered a paper at a session on illicit financial flows. Thereafter, he had a meeting with all the Heads of INTERPOL in North Africa on the intelligence on the ex-governor.”

“He formally asked INTERPOL to place Bello on Red Alert in all North African countries and it was accepted.”

“The watch-list has taken immediate effect. He will be arrested in any part of North Africa.”

“We took this step because we are suspecting that he had been bidding time not to be available for arraignment.”

“We expect Bello to be in court to prove his innocence. EFCC has to do its work to avoid bad precedent.”

At the last hearing, Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), applied to withdraw his appearance for his client.

But Adedipe drew the court’s attention to an application before the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for the transfer of charge no: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 to the Federal High Court, Lokoja.

He said the application was pursuant to Section 45 of the Federal High Court Establishment Act.