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Illegal Possession Of Arms : Court Grants Emefiele N20m Bail

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Pix: A Federal High Court Registrar, Kemi Oni leading Emefiele to court

Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Tuesday, granted bail in the sum of N20 million to the immediate past governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, charged with illegal possession of firearms.

Emefiele is currently standing trial on a two-count charge bordering on illegal possession of a single barrel shot gun, as well as possession of 123 rounds of live ammunition without licence.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

After his plea was taken today, his counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN) who led four other Senior Advocatesof Nigeria, informed the court of a bail application filed on behalf of the defendant.

Mr Daudu added that same had been served on the prosecution, adding that there is a stamp of the office of the Attorney General as evidence of service

But the prosecutor, led by Mrs N.B Jones, objected to the bail application on the grounds that she had not been served with a copy of the application.

She told Justice Oweibo that her office had been on the look out for a possible bail application of the defendant, but had seen none.

She added that since she is just been aware of the application in court, she requires time to respond by way of affidavit, since facts have been deposed.

Besides, she noted that since there is no sitting Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) at the moment, the defence could not have effectively served same.

But defence counsel told the court that the prosecutor had no excuse not to proceed today in response of the bail application as same had been duly served on prosecution’s office.

He argued that the office of the AGF is a creation of statute, and so cannot exist in a vacuum.

He urged the court to so hold.

Ruling in the submissions of counsel, Justice Oweibo agreed with the submission of defence counsel, and urged him to move the defendant’s bail application.

Moving the application, defence counsel urged the court to admit the defendant to bail as he is not a flight risk being, a reputable former Governor of CBN.

He told the court that the defendant had been kept in custody for long and had lost so much weight and so, requires medical attention.

Defence also informed the court that the defendant will be available to stand trial , adding that assuming the prosecutor had produced a witness, the defence would have been ready to proceed.

He, therefore, urged the court to grant Emefiele bail.

In response, the prosecutor informed the court that she was opposed to the bail application of the defendant as he was a flight risk.

She told the court that the defendant had refused to submit his international passport which indicates such flight risk.

Besides, she also told the court that being a very influential citizen of Nigeria, the defendant could also interfere with the case and evidences intended to be led by prosecution.

She urged the court to refuse bail.

In his ruling, Justice Oweibo agreed with the submission of the defence counsel on the grounds that the offence for which the defendant is charged is bailable.

The court held that bail can only be denied where any of the circumstances set out in Section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, is established.

The court held that the prosecution has not furnished such circumstances before the court.

The court consequently granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum.

The court held that the surety must depose to an affidavit of means and have a landed property.

He urged that the defendant be remanded in custody of the correctional service pending perfection of bail.

The court adjourned the case until November 14 for trial.

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