The suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has asked the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to admit him to bail on self recognizance pending the hearing and determination of the charge filed against him by the Federal Government.
The bail application which was filed by his lead counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Daudu was brought pursuant to the relevant provisions of the constitution, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 and the inherent powers of the court.
It was not yet certain when Mr Emefiele would be arraigned on the two counts of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition but there are indications that it would be sometime during the annual vacation of the court which commences on Monday, July 24, 2023.
The suspended CBN governor’s case has been assigned to Justice Nicholas Oweibo, who is one of two vacation judges for the court. The other is Justice Akintayo Aluko.
Mr Emefiele’s application for bail was premised on nine grounds.
First, he contended that the offences for which he was charged were bailable. He also said he has never been convicted of any offence and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The suspended CBN governor also said that granting him bail would afford him adequate time and facilities to prepare his defence to the charge.
Referring to his reputation and past credible record as well as his status of being a former CBN governor, the defendant said he is not a flight risk and would not jump bail if it is granted.
He also pointed out that since investigations have been concluded, there is no likelihood of interference on his part. While promising to attend trial punctually, the defendant also indicated his willingness to provide responsible sureties as may be required by the Court as a condition for the grant of bail.
A total of 10 lawyers including five senior advocates have been listed to defend the suspended CBN governor. They’ll be led by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Daudu.
The other senior advocates are Akinlolu Kehinde, Bert Igwilo, Victor Opara and Emeka Obegolu.
In documents put before the court in support of the bail application, Emefiele denied being guilty of the offence with which he is presently charged.
The Federal Government, in the charge sheet, accused the suspended CBN governor of possessing a single-barrel shotgun (JOJEFF MAGNUM 8371) without a licence.
The government said that the offence was contrary to Section 4 of the Firearms Act Cap F28 Laws of the Federation 2004 and punishable under Section 27 (1b) of the same Act.
In the second count, the suspended CBN governor was accused of having in his possession 123 rounds of live ammunition (Cartridges) without a licence, which is contrary to section 8 of the Firearms Act Cap F28 Laws of the Federation 2004 and punishable under Section 27 (1)(b)(il) of the same Act.
President Bola Tinubu suspended Mr Emefiele as the apex bank chief on June 9, 2023. A day after, the Department of State Services confirmed that the suspended CBN chief was in its custody.