Finally! Court Decides Over Emefiele’s Case After 151 Days

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A federal capital territory high court in Abuja has granted bail to former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

Olukayode Adeniyi, the Presiding Judge, while delivering a ruling on the bail filed by the ex-CBN Governor, ordered the Federal Government to release him to his lawyers.

The court also ordered the lawyers to ensure that Emefiele is produced for arraignment whenever he is needed and that his international passport should be deposited before the court.

Meanwhile, Oyin Koleoso, counsel representing the Federal government and the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), opposed the bail application.

Koleoso told the court that the applicant is scheduled to be arraigned on November 15, in respect of a pending charge filed by the AGF office.

He prayed the court to “decline the application for bail to avoid a situation where the scheduled arrangement may be interfered with.”

“It will pose further problems for the prosecution to get the applicant for his arraignment.

“By the time he is arraigned next week, he can now make a proper application for bail which will be considered on its merit.

“In view of the processes filed, we urge the court to decline the application for bail,” Koleoso added.

On his part, Farouk Abdullah, Economic Financial Crimes Commission’s counsel, also asked the court to refuse the application.

Abdullah said: “On behalf of the third and fourth respondents, I state that the applicant only came into the custody of the 4th respondent on October 26 and he has been in the custody of the respondents pursuant to a detention order made by the court.

“These facts are contained in the notice of preliminary objection filed in this court, therefore, the fourth respondent is not acting arbitrarily but within the confines of legality.

“The court that made the order gave a return date of November 10, 2023.

“Respectfully, we pray your lordship to decline bail and reiterate your learned brother’s directive that the applicant be brought to court on November 15 as two conflicting directives may be difficult.”

Responding, Mattew Burkaa, counsel to Emefiele, said his client has been incarcerated by agents of the federal government for 151 days.

He submitted that the bail application is a fundamental right enforcement suit different from the cases mentioned by the respondents’ counsel.

Burkaa said his client cannot interfere with the investigation in the criminal suit since the probe has been completed and a charge has been filed since August.

He also stated that section 298(1)(2) of the administration of criminal justice act (ACJA) allows the judge to make another order even where there is a valid remand order.

According to him, the order for bail would not affect Emefiele’s presence in court for arraignment despite the failure of the prosecution to serve his client with the charge.

He said there is nothing before the court to show that his client is a flight risk.

Delivering the ruling, Adeniyi said he cannot overlook the fact that Emefiele has been in custody for 151 days without trial.

He said the remand order issued by the magistrate court cannot preclude him from making an order granting bail to the applicant.

He however ordered that the former CBN Governor be released.

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