The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has granted bail to a former beauty queen, Ibinabo Fiberesima, who was sentenced to five years imprisonment for manslaughter.
The two million Naira bail was granted on Thursday, pending the determination of her appeal against the manslaughter sentence at the Supreme Court.
The court’s verdict was split two-to-one in Ibinabo’s favour.
Reading the lead judgment, Justice Samuel Oseji held that there was nothing to show that the former beauty queen would jump bail.
The court also held that there was enough evidence before it showing that Ibinabo had health challenges, which made her application for bail found to have merit.
The bail was then granted in the sum of two million Naira with two sureties in like sum. The court also held that the two sureties must be resident in Lagos and must each swear to an affidavit of means.
Justice Oseji also held that it would amount to injustice if after Fiberesima had been kept in prison, the Supreme Court later, after about three to four years, decided that the five year jail term imposed on her should be set aside.
Presiding over the proceedings, Justice Sidi Bage aligned himself with the lead judgment but the third member of the panel, Justice Yagata Nimpar, dissented, as he insisted that the application for bail on grounds of ill health was untenable.
He noted that there was no record before the court to show that Ibinabo Fiberesima had suffered any complication since February, when she had surgery for breast cancer.
Justice Nimpar also said that there was adequate medical facilities in the prison to cater to her health challenges or in the alternative, the prison hospital could give her referral for consultancy in the event that she has any condition that could not be taken care of by the prison hospital.
In an affidavit of urgency filed before the court by her lawyer, Nnaemeka Amaechina, one Victor Eden had deposed to a six-paragraph affidavit, stating that Fiberesima recently had a surgical operation for breast cancer.
Eden said in the affidavit that Fiberesima’s surgical wound was yet to heal properly, as she was still under the watch of her doctors. He stressed that she was afraid that her life might be endangered if kept in the prison custody.
While he urged the court to grant her bail in the interest of justice, the Lagos State government did not oppose the application for bail but urged the court to use its discretion.
Ibinabo Fiberesima was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years imprisonment by Justice Deborah Oluwayemi of a Lagos State High Court in 2009.
The judge had held that her reckless driving was responsible for an auto crash, which claimed the life of one Dr. Giwa Suraj on the Lekki-Epe Expressway.