~by Godwin Orozo

The arraignment of former Kogi Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, scheduled for Thursday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, was adjourned to June 27. Justice Emeka Nwite postponed the proceedings following the absence of the lead prosecutor from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kemi Pinheiro, SAN.

Last month, the court had slated June 13 for Bello’s arraignment, with assurances that he would appear to enter his plea. However, during Thursday’s session, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, representing Bello, informed the court that Pinheiro had previously indicated to the defense team that proceeding on that day would not be feasible.

Adedipe expressed surprise at seeing another EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, present in court, despite an agreement that junior lawyers would coordinate a new hearing date. According to Adedipe, there seemed to be a misunderstanding between Pinheiro and Oyedepo regarding the scheduling.

He clarified, “It was agreed administratively that junior lawyers be sent to court today to formally take a date as agreed by parties for June 27.” Adedipe emphasized that the prosecution’s last-minute appearance was unexpected and suggested it was an attempt to cause undue publicity.

In response, Oyedepo disagreed with Adedipe’s account of events, stating he was unaware of any prior discussions between their lead counsel and the defense.

Intervening in the discussion, Simon Lough, SAN, urged for a resolution, emphasizing that the focus should be on setting a new date rather than disputing details. Justice Nwite subsequently adjourned the case to June 27, with an agreement from all parties that Bello would be present on that date for his arraignment.

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