After 151 days in the custody of the Federal Government’s security agencies, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, on Wednesday, admitted the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Godwin Emefiele to bail.
The court, in spite of stiff opposition from the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, permitted Emefiele to go home and prepare for his November 15 arraignment.
Justice Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi, who granted the bail, hinged his decision on the fact that Emefiele had stayed in government custody beyond the time stipulated by law.
The Judge also predicated 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.
In a ruling on the application for bail argued by Mathew Burkaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Justice Adeniyi held that it is in the best interest of justice and fair play, especially the provision of section 35 of Nigeria’s Constitution.
The Judge specifically said that there must be an end to detention without trial by the federal government.
The AGF and the Federal Government represented by Oyin Koleoso had strongly 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.
EFCC on its part 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.
Counsel to the applicant, however, punctured the opposition of the Federal Government, adding that the claim of likelihood of interference in arraignment was speculative because his client was not declared a flight risk.
He told Justice Ademiyi to disregard the claim of EFCC that Emefiele was brought to its custody only on October 26.
The Senior lawyer informed the Court that the former CBN boss was investigated by a team of inter Ministerial Investigators from the EFCC, the Police and the Department of the State Services, DSS, which jointly constituted the government agency.
However, among others, Emefiele must be released to his senior lawyer, Matthew Burkaa, SAN, who must produce him any day the Federal Government chooses to arraign him.
Emefiele is also to deposit his travelling passport with the Registrar of the Court pending his formal arraignment.