Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has finally been granted bail by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, after spending 149 days in custody.
Terms of his release include deposition of his international passport and appearing at the court, Wednesday, November 15, 2023 for continuation of his case
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had earlier bowed to the order of the court by producing the Emefiele in court for hearing of his bail application.
Emefiele who has been in the custody of security agencies for over 149 days, was ordered by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, to be released unconditionally or be brought to hear his application for bail.
Dressed in a yellow Kaftan and a cap and flanked by operatives of the EFCC, the former CBN governor arrived at the courtroom at about 12:30 pm, Wednesday, Nov 8, 2023.
Justice Adeniyi had on Monday, reaffirmed his order that the detained former CBN governor be brought to court today November 8, for the purpose of admitting him to bail.
At the resumed hearing, counsel to Emefiele, Mathew Burkaa, applied that his client be admitted to bail on liberal terms, having been in the custody of security agencies for 151 days. He made this application to Provisions of Section 35 (4a and b) of the 1999 constitution.
While objecting to the bail application, counsel for the Attorney General of the Federation and the Federal Government, Onyi Koleosho, pointed out that Emefiele was transferred to the custody of the EFCC on October 26, and that date is not up to two months.
He stated that a hearing notice has been issued by the court to the effect that Emefiele will be arraigned on 15th November 2023, in respect of a pending charge filed by the office of the AGF.
He said the court should decline the application for Emefiele’s release in the interest of justice, and to avoid a situation where the scheduled arraignment may interfere with investigations, adding that releasing him will pose further problems and difficulties for the prosecution to get him to attend court next week, for his arraignment.
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Counsel for the EFCC, Farouk Abdallah, agreed that the issue of bail is at the discretion of the court.
However, parties may bring facts before the court to enable it to make a decision that will help it meet the Justice of the case.
In a further submission, Counsel to Emefiele pointed out that his client has not been served any charge to date. He assured the court that the former CBN governor is not a flight risk and doesn’t have the capacity to stop his arraignment by the Federal Government next week.
Noting that his client has been in custody all this while, the lawyer noted that Nigeria would lose nothing by granting Emefiele bail.
During the proceeding, Emefiele was also given the room to address the court. He said he hasn’t been charged to date.
Counsel for the EFCC, however, said he is taken aback by these claims because when Emefiele was brought before a sister court (Justice Muazu), he was meant to take his plea.