The Federal Government of Nigeria has applied to the Federal High Court in Lagos, requesting the withdrawal of gun charges against Godwin Emefiele, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In the latest proceedings, Justice Nicholas Oweibo who is serving as a vacation judge, held a hearing yesterday on the claims of both sides in the case.
The defence sought to refute the prosecution’s accusations of not complying with the court’s order for the defendant to be released on bail.
On the other hand, the prosecution objected to the request to go through court authorization.
As the hearing progressed, the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, informed the court of the government’s decision to withdraw the charges, citing emerging facts and circumstances that were to be thoroughly investigated.
In his response, principal defence attorney Joseph Daudu (SAN) argued that such a request under Sections 174(1) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) could not be made orally but only in a formal written request.
He stressed that his client’s guardianship should not be moved from the Department of State Services (DSS) to a correctional facility due to his failure to comply with an existing court order granting him bail.
The DPP wasn’t in agreement with the defence attorney, stating that Section 108 of the Criminal Justice Administration Act 2015 gives prosecutors the power to withdraw charges at any time without necessarily having to make them in writing.
Justice Oweibo then adjourned the trial until tomorrow, mentioning that the new development was a “surprise” to the court.
On July 25, 2023, the court granted Emefiele N20 million in bail for two counts of alleged illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The order from the court was for Emefiele to be taken to a correctional centre while his bail conditions were finalised.
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