A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday has granted bail to Godwin Emefiee, the suspended CBN Governor, over the illegal arms possession charge against him.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo, in a ruling, said the charges against Emefiele were bailable and subsequently grant him bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum.
Emefiele’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu, SAN, had moved the bail application before the judge, after pleading not guilty to two counts of illegal possession of firearms and live ammunition. Daudu urged the court to grant bail to his client on self-recognisance or other liberal terms, pending the hearing and determination of the trial.
“There is no counter affidavit from the federal government. This is an unopposed application. He is a renowned banker and can only stay at his house. He can’t travel anywhere,” he told the court.
However, Nkiru Jones-Nebo, Deputy Director of Prosecutions, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, opposed the application saying that the prosecution had not been given time to respond. She added that they had information that the defendant’s refusal to hand in his passport suggests 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 said.
Justice Oweibo in his ruling rejected the Federal Government’s claim that it had not received a copy of the bail application filed by Emefiele in the trial and held that there was evidence that the government was served.
He ruled that the surety must have landed property within the court jurisdiction and must be deposed to an affidavit of means.
“The surety must be the owner of 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 with the court,” Oweibo said.
The judge remanded Emefiele in prison custody pending the perfection of his bail as against the request of the prosecution that he should be remanded in the custody of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) for further investigation
Emefiele was brought to the court by officers of the DSS. He was arrested by the DSS at his home in Lagos on 10 June and immediately flew to Abuja to face interrogation.
Emefiele is standing trial on a two-count charge, on the accusations that he possess a single-barrel shotgun (JOJEFF MAGNUM 8371) without a licence on June 15, 2023, at Ikoyi, Lagos, an offence that is contrary to Section 4 of the Firearms Act, 2004, and punishable under Section 27 (1b) of the same Act.
He was also accused of having in his possession 123 rounds of live ammunition (cartridges) without a licence, which is contrary to Section 8 of the Firearms Act 2004 and punishable under Section 27 (1)(b)(il) of the same Act.