The suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has filed an application urging a Federal High Court in Lagos to suspend his trial before the court. This action is in response to allegations of disobeying a court order granting him bail. Emefiele is also requesting an order to clear him of the charge of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, or any other charge, due to the government’s “brazen disobedience” of the court’s existing bail orders issued on July 25, 2023.
On its part, the government has submitted an application dated August 3, 2023, seeking permission from the same court to appeal the order issued by Justice Nicholas Oweibo. This order granted bail to the suspended CBN governor after the federal government had charged him with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
Emefiele is accused of possessing a single-barrel shotgun (JOJEFF MAGNUM 8371) without a license, which violates section 4 of the Firearms Act Cap F28 Laws of the Federation 2004, and is punishable under Section 27 (1b) of the same Act. Additionally, he’s accused of having 123 rounds of live ammunition (cartridges) without a license, 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. Emefiele has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Despite the court’s order to remand Emefiele in the Ikoyi Custodial Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Services until bail terms were met, the Department of State Services (DSS) re-arrested and detained him.
Emefiele’s application also requests the court to discharge him of all charges, alleging the government’s “brazen disobedience” of the bail orders. He’s further seeking an order that restrains the federal government from benefiting from any court indulgence unless it complies with the bail ruling.
The application has been filed in accordance with Section 6(6)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), relevant sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, and the court’s inherent powers. Emefiele is also urging Justice Oweibo to halt further proceedings in the current charge until he exhausts legal remedies to compel the government and DSS to obey the bail order.
Emefiele emphasizes that he’s seeking court intervention to ensure the enforcement of its orders, safeguarding the integrity of the court and upholding the rule of law in the democracy.
Justice Oweibo has scheduled the hearing of the applications for August 10.