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Former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has cited apprehension about potential arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as the reason for his non-appearance before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

All Nigeria’s Latest News reports that the EFCC is pursuing the arraignment of Bello on 19 counts related to alleged money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds amounting to N80.2 billion.

Despite the initial scheduling of the arraignment for April 18, Bello was absent from court on that day.

During the resumed court session on Tuesday, Adeola Adedipe, a member of Bello’s legal team, stated that their client would have attended court but expressed concerns about the possibility of being detained.

“The defendant wants to come to court but he is afraid that there is an order of arrest hanging on his head,” Adedipe said.

He asked the court to revoke the warrant of arrest issued on April 17 against the former governor.

Adedipe argued that the charge had not been served on his client as required by law at the time the warrant of arrest was made.

“As at the time the warrant was issued, the order for substituted service had not been made. That order was just made this morning,” he said.

“A warrant of arrest should not be hanging on his neck when we leave this court,” counsel to the defendant added.

However, Kemi Pinheiro, EFCC’s lawyer, argued that for the arrest warrant to be vacated, the former governor must be arraigned and take his plea.

Earlier, Emeka Nwite, presiding judge, made an order directing that the defendant should be served the charges by substituted means through his lawyers.

The court has fixed May 10 to rule on the application to vacate the warrant of arrest.

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