Former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has finally returned to his Abuja home, marking the end of his 151-day detention.
This comes after an Abuja High Court granted him bail, despite objections from the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The court, led by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, emphasized the need to halt prolonged detention without trial. The judge highlighted the court’s prior directive for Emefiele’s unconditional release or production for bail consideration, which the EFCC had initially failed to comply with. Addressing concerns about a scheduled arraignment on November 15, the court deemed the claim speculative and emphasized the lack of evidence supporting the planned court appearance.
Despite a conflicting remand order presented by the FG’s lawyer, indicating inconsistent dates, Justice Adeniyi asserted the court’s authority under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, empowering it to issue necessary orders against an applicant’s detention.The court directed Emefiele’s release to a team of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) who represented him, with a requirement to surrender all international documents. Further proceedings are scheduled for November 17.
Emefiele’s legal journey began with a fundamental right enforcement suit, filed after five months in detention. The respondents include the Federal Republic of Nigeria, AGF, EFCC Chairman, and EFCC itself. During the proceedings, Emefiele expressed not receiving a copy of the fresh charge against him. His lawyer emphasized the speculative nature of concerns hindering bail, stating there was no evidence of flight risk or avoidance of trial.
President Bola Tinubu had suspended Emefiele on June 9, followed by his arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) at his Lagos residence. The former CBN boss faces charges of illegal firearm possession and corruption, with proceedings temporarily on hold for plea bargain negotiations. He was transferred to the EFCC detention facility on October 26 by the DSS.
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