Child’s Rights Group Frowns At Exposure of Bello’s Children in Alleged Corruption Probe

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Child’s Rights Advocacy Network (CRANE) has frowned at the public exposure and potential harm inflicted on the minor children of former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, amidst his ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Addressing a press conference on yesterday in Abuja, Frankline Edede, said the recent incidents in the polity once again paint in stark contrast the plight of the Nigerian child.

He said without prejudice to the duties of the EFCC to investigate and prosecute any person for any offense within her terms of reference, the group, however, denounced the repeated mention of Bello’s children in press conferences and statements by EFCC officials, particularly its Chairman, Olanipekun Olukoyede and Spokesperson Dele Oyewale.

Edede stated: “We also strongly condemn the public statement by their school, the American International School, Abuja, regarding her remittance of the school fees paid for the children by their family to the EFCC. 

“While acknowledging and respecting the EFCC’s mandate to investigate financial crimes, CRANE emphasises that the rights and well-being of children must be protected throughout any legal process.”

The group maintained that the actions of all parties involved in this case have inadvertently exposed these children to undue public scrutiny and potential harm, contravening both Nigerian law and international conventions on children’s rights.

The group added that  EFCC’s actions raised serious concerns about the violation of due process, the presumption of innocence, and the potential for lasting psychological and emotional damage to the children involved. 

It insisted that targeting children to gain leverage over their father was not only unethical but also potentially illegal.

It pointed out that Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and has enacted the Child’s Rights Act (2003), both of which guarantee children protection from violence, abuse, and exploitation. 

The group, therefore, demanded immediate cease of all actions and public statements that directly or indirectly target  Bello’s children.

It also called for strict adherence to due process and the presumption of innocence in all investigations.

It said it firmly believed that the fight against corruption must not come at the expense of children’s well-being or the principles of justice. 

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