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Why DSS re-arrests suspended CBN Gov Emefiele after N20m bail –Prosecution

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Suspended Governor of CBN on the Court Premises

*The prosecution claims the refusal of Godwin Emefiele, suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to submit his passport has suggested his capacity to evade and abscond from trial for alleged illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, besides  intimidating the prosecution witnesses coming forward to give evidence in court

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) Tuesday, July 25, 2023, re-arrested Mr. Godwin Emefiele, suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), after a dramatic tussle with officials of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS).

It was gathered Emefiele’s re-arrest occurred on the premises of a Federal High Court, in Lagos, sitting in Ikoyi after Justice Nicholas Oweibo admitted the suspended CBN Chief to N20 million bail.

Emefiele arraigned, pleaded not guilty of two-count charge

After several legal fireworks by Emefiele’s counsel challenging his prolonged detention by the DSS, the Nigerian Secret Police succumbed to pressure July 13, and announced that the suspended CBN Governor had been charged to court.

Subsequently, Emefiele was brought by DSS operatives in a hilux vehicle to court Tuesday, in Lagos.

Appearing before Justice Oweibo, Emefiele, 61, pleaded “not guilty” to the two counts of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition filed against him by the Federal Government.

In his submissions, Emefiele’s lawyer, Daudu, urged the court to grant bail on self recognisance 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.”

Justice Oweibo also ordered that Emefiele be remanded at the correctional centre, pending the fulfillment of the bail conditions.

However, the counsel to the Federal Government requested that the defendant be remanded in the DSS custody, pending the perfection of his bail conditions.

Court’s bail conditions

In his ruling on the bail application, Justice Oweibo said: “I find and hold that the prosecution has failed to establish why the defendant should not be granted bail.

“Consequently the defendant is admitted to bail in the sum of 20 million Naira with one surety in like sum.”

The Judges also stated: “The surety must be owner of a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court who must not be less than Level 16 in the Nigerian Civil Service.

“The defendant must deposit his international passport to the court.

“Case is adjourned to 14th of November for trial.”

Earlier in her oral submission, Nkiru Jones-Nebo, counsel to the government, had 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 submitted that the defendant should be remanded in DSS custody for further investigation on another matter that may soon by filed in court.

The counsel also said that the prosecution had information that the defendant’s refusal to hand in his passport suggested his capacity to evade and abscond from his trial.

Jones-Nebo also argued: “As the governor of the CBN, he is a powerful man, and can intimidate the witnesses.

“Granting him bail will intimidate the prosecution 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.”

However, the court overruled the Federal Government on Emefiele’s bail application.

The judge also ordered that Emefiele be held at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre, pending the perfection of his bail as against the request of the prosecution that the defendant should be remanded in DSS custody for further investigation on another matter that may soon by filed in court

Battle for Emefiele’s custody

Shortly after the court ruling on his bail application, the DSS operatives strategically, had positioned their Hilux Pick Up van used in bring Emefiele to court, in a manner suggesting that they wanted to take him back to their detention centre.

In the process, the DSS operatives manhandled a prison official at a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

This prompted Emefiele’s lead counsel, Joseph Daudu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and other lawyers to raise an alarm about their client’s planned re-arrest by the secret Police.

After the court ruling, the suspended CBN governor holed up inside the courtroom with his lawyers, according to report.

However, when the prison officials attempted to take Emefiele into custody pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions, the secret police challenged them and it led to a fight.

Amid the clash, Emefiele’s lawyers “reluctantly allowed the DSS disobey court order and take custody of their client” to avoid a gun battle.

The prison officials then exited the court in their vehicle and the DSS took charge.

At exactly 03:03p.m., DSS operatives led the suspended CBN Governor out of the courtroom into their waiting vehicle.

The trial has been fixed for November 14, 2023.

It is recalled President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, June 9 this year, suspended Emefiele as Governor of the Bankers’ Bank.

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