A High Court Justice of the Federal Capital Territory presided over by Justice Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi, has admitted former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to bail, after about five months in the custody of security agencies.
The court ordered his release and thereafter fixed November 15, 2023 arraignment.
Justice Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi, who granted the bail, said Emefiele had stayed in government’s custody beyond the time stipulated by law.
The Judge also based his decision on the fact that the federal government had completed investigation into the allegations against the former CBN Chief and had even prepared the charges against him as far as August this year.
Justice Adeniyi held in a ruling on the application for bail argued by Mathew Burkaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), stated that it was in the best interest of justice and fair play especially the provision of Section 35 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution to follow the rule of law.
The Judge specifically cautioned that there must be an end to detention without trial by the federal government.
The Federal Government, represented by Oyin Koleoso, had objected to Emefiele’s request for bail on the ground that he would interfere with the November 15 arraignment but did not tell the court how the interference would be done.
On its part, the EFCC through its counsel, Farouk Abudalla, insisted that Emefiele had not spent three months in its own custody and urged the Court to refuse the bail request.
Mathew Burkaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Counsel to the applicant, however, punctured the opposition of the Federal Government, stressing that the claim of likelihood of interference in arraignment was speculative because his client was not declared a flight risk.
The counsel to the applicant, also told Justice Adeniyi to disregard the claim of EFCC that Emefiele was brought to its custody only on October 26.
The Senior lawyer also informed the Court that the former CBN boss was investigated by a team of Inter-Ministerial Investigators from EFCC, Police and Department of the State Service (DSS), which are jointly constituted government agencies.
The court, however, held among others, that Emefiele must be released to his Senior lawyer Matthew Burkaa, SAN, who must produce him any day the Federal Government chooses to arraign him.
Emefilele is also to deposit his travelling passport with the Registrar of the Court pending his formal arraignment.