Emefiele: Court Fixes Aug. 17, To Rule On FG’s Charge Withdrawal

Suspended CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Being Dragged To Courtroom By A Court Registrar When He Was Arraigned

A Lagos Federal High Court, today, fixed next Thursday, August 17, to rule of Federal government application to withdraw illegal firearms charge, against the suspended Governor of the Nigeria’s Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo who presided over the court, fixed the date after listening to the arguments of the federal government lawyer, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, a Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and Mr. Joseph Bodurin Daudu (SAN), who led other four senior lawyers. 

It would be recall that the suspended Governor of the Nigeria apex Bank, Mr. Emefiele was charges before the court by the federal government on a two count-charge of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

The offences which are 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.”

The court has also ordered that Emefiele be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) till when he we meet the bail terms.

Though, he denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges. And he was admitted to bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties in like sum, and among other terms and conditions.

At the last hearing of the matter, the court had adjourned till today, for the  hearing of all pending applications, which includes; application seeking to stay the execution of the bail and application compelling the complainant to obey the court orders, filed by Emefiele’s lawyers.

At the resumed hearing of the matter today, the DPP orally applied to the court to withdraw the charges against Emefiele.

The DPP told the court that the application was informed by emerging facts and for circumstances that need further investigations and urged the court to grant the application.

Abubakar told the court that the application was pursuant to Sections 174 (1) (c) (2) and 108 (2) (4) of the of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution.

But the defence lead counsel, Dawodu (SAN) disagreed with the prosecution’s oral application, arguing that because the government was in disobedience of the court’s order granting Emefiele bail, its application could not be taken.

“He said, there is no application before the court, there is no doubt and I am not disputing the facts that the state can withdraw any charge before the court against any person.”

Dawodu (SAN) further argued that in the past the argument was there was no Attorney General of the Federation who can handle the case.

He cited Section 174 (3) of the 1999 Constitution that the AGF has power that can be devoid to any of it’s officers.

“We have an application that the AGF has flouted the court order which say the respondent/ defendant should be remanded at the Nigeria Correctional Service granted but they are not obeying the order.

“The court granted order of substituted service to be published in three National dailies and after they brought an application of stay of execution of the bail and we say unless they obey that order section 174 (1) can only be by nolle prosequi

“It must be in writing, I have never heard of the withdrawal of a case without a nolle prosequi for the interest of justice we need to prevent abuse of legal processes.

“Every application they brought against any citizen of this country under section 174, is nolle prosequi the government can not come before the court orally for that, it’s to be by “nolle prosequi”,at the point in term there is no application before the court.

“I urge the court to reject the application and order the learned DPP to go on with today’s business,” he said.

While responding to the defence argument, the DPP said nolle prosequi was different from withdrawal of the charge and cited section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2015.

Justice Oweibo after taken arguments from both parties, adjourned till this Thursday for ruling.