The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has granted bail to the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, in the sum of N20m with one surety in like sum.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted bail to Emefiele after listening to the submissions of Emefiele’s counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN).
Suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele arrives at the Federal High Court for his arraignment on a two-count charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.#CTVTweets pic.twitter.com/Jdknz23x3H
— Channels Television (@channelstv) July 25, 2023
The judge rejected the Federal Government’s claim that Emefiele was a flight risk.
He ruled that the government failed to provide any fact to support its claim.
President Bola Tinubu had suspended Emefiele as the apex bank chief on June 9, 2023. A day after, the Department of State Services (DSS) confirmed that the embattled and suspended CBN chief was in its custody.
Emefiele Arraigned, Pleads Not Guilty
After several legal fireworks by Emefiele’s counsel challenging his prolonged detention by the DSS, the secret police bowed to pressure on July 13, 2023 and announced that the suspended apex bank chief has been charged to court.
Emefiele was brought to court by DSS operatives in a hilux vehicle on Tuesday, July 25, 2023.
Appearing before Justice Oweibo, Emefiele, 61, pleaded “not guilty” to the two counts of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition filed against him by the Federal Government.
In his submissions, Emefiele’s lawyer, Daudu, urged the court to grant bail on self recognizance or on other liberal terms, pending the hearing and determination of the trial.
He said, “There is no counter affidavit from the Federal Government opposing bail. Also, the defendant is a renowned banker and can only stay at his house, he can’t travel anywhere.”
However, counsel for the Federal Government, Nkiru Jones-Nebo, in an oral submission, opposed the bail application, insisting that the prosecution had not been given time to respond in line with the provisions of fair hearing enshrined in the constitution.
She also said that the prosecution had information that the defendant’s refusal to hand in his passport suggested his capacity to evade and abscond from his trial.
“As the governor of the CBN, he is a powerful man, and can intimidate the witnesses. Granting him bail will intimidate the prosecution witnesses who have come forward to give evidence. He can evade trial based on his antecedents. We urge the court to dismiss the bail application,” she argued.
But the court overruled the Federal Government.
The judge also ordered that Emefiele be held at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre, pending the perfection of his bail as against the request of the prosecution that the defendant should be remanded in DSS custody for further investigation on another matter that may soon by filed in court.
The trial has been fixed for November 14, 2023.
In his ruling on the bail application, Justice Oweibo said, “I find and hold that the prosecution has failed to establish why the defendant should not be granted bail.
“Consequently the defendant is admitted to bail in the sum of 20 million naira with one surety in like sum.
“The surety must be owner of a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court who must not be less than Level 16 in the Nigerian Civil Service.
“The defendant must deposit his international passport to the court.
“Case is adjourned to 14th of November for trial.”