Court strikes out firearm charge against Emefiele

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out the firearm charge against the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo struck out the two-count charge for want of diligent prosecution, following the withdrawal application made by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar.

Abubakar relied on Section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The defence through its lead counsel Mr. J.B. Daodu had argued that the prosecution could not withdraw the charge unless the Government first purges itself of its disobedience to the court’s July 25 order granting Emefiele N20 million bail.

But Justice Oweibo, while condemning the Government’s conduct, granted its application.

“The conduct of the prosecution has shown that it doesn’t respect the rule of law. Of what benefit will it be to keep the file in the court’s docket when the prosecution has shown disrespect to the court?

“Accordingly this charge is hereby struck out for lack of diligent prosecution”, he ruled.

Credible News reports that on Tuesday, the Government applied to withdraw the charge, saying it had filed a 20-count charge against the embattled banker in Abuja.

Emefiele has been in the custody of the Department of State Security, DSS, since June 10 following his suspension by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on June 9.

Following his arraignment on July 25 on a two-count charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, Justice Oweibo granted him N20m bail and ordered his remand at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre, pending the fulfilment of his bail conditions.

But the DSS rearrested the bank chief after fighting off Nigeria Correctional Service officials on the court’s premises.

Following proceedings on August 10, the court fixed Tuesday last week to hear two pending applications filed by either party.

The first application filed by the Ministry of Justice on August 3 sought leave to appeal against the N20m bail.

The second filed by Emefiele on August 8 asked the court to stop the Federal Government from further prosecuting him on the charge of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition or any other charge.

When the matter came up last week Tuesday, the DPP, made an oral application to the court seeking to withdraw the charges against Emefiele.

He stated that the application was informed by emerging facts and for circumstances that need further investigation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *