Gun Possession: Court grants Emefiele ₦20M bail

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 after listening to the submissions of Emefiele’s counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN).

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.

Emefiele, 61, had also pleaded “not guilty” to the two-count charge of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition filed against him by the Federal Government.

In his submissions, Daudu had 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.”

But counsel to the FG, 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 suggests his capacity to evade and absond 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 prosecutions 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.

Trial has been fixed for November 14.

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, suspended CBN chief was in its custody.

An Abuja High Court on July 13, 2023 subsequently ordered that the secret police charge Emefiele to court within one week or release him.

Hours after, the DSS said Emefiele has been charged to court in compliance with the court order.