After spending 151 days in the custody of the Federal Government’s security agencies, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory granted bail to the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, on Wednesday.
Despite strong opposition from the Federal Government, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the court allowed Emefiele to be released and prepare for his arraignment scheduled for November 15.
Justice Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi based his decision on the prolonged detention of Emefiele beyond the legal stipulation and the completion of the government’s investigation into the allegations against him as of August this year.
In his ruling on the bail application argued by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mathew Burkaa, Justice Adeniyi emphasized the importance of justice and fair play, citing Section 35 of Nigeria’s Constitution. He stressed the need to end detention without trial by the federal government.
While the Attorney General and the Federal Government opposed the bail request, citing potential interference with the November 15 arraignment, they did not provide specifics on how such interference might occur. The EFCC argued that Emefiele had not spent three months in its custody and urged the court to deny the bail request.
Emefiele’s counsel countered the opposition, calling the claim of potential interference speculative and noting that his client was not declared a flight risk. The senior lawyer informed the court that Emefiele underwent investigation by a team of inter-ministerial investigators from the EFCC, the Police, and the Department of State Services.
As part of the bail conditions, Emefiele must be released to his senior lawyer, Matthew Burkaa, who will produce him on the day of the formal arraignment. Additionally, Emefiele is required to deposit his travel passport with the Registrar of the Court pending the arraignment.