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Court Grants Emefiele’s Request to Serve Bail Order on DSS

The court had granted Emefiele N20 million bail and had ordered that he should be remanded at a correctional facility but the DSS rearrested Emefiele within the court premises.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High in Lagos, on Tuesday, granted the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, leave to serve the Director General, Department of State Services(DSS), Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi, by substituted means, the order of court admitting him to bail and directing his remand in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service(NCoS).

Justice Oweibo granted the order following an ex-parte application moved by Emefiele’s counsel, Mrs. Ogonnaya Sonuga.

The court had on July 25, 2023, granted Emefiele N20 million bail and had ordered that he should be remanded at the NCoS after he was arraigned on a 2-count charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

The charges bordered on alleged possession of a single barrel shot gun, as well as possession of 123 rounds of live ammunition without licences.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

However, the DSS rearrested Emefiele  within the court premises, shortly after he was granted bail.

But in an ex-parte application dated July 28, 2023, Emefiele had asked the court for “An order of this Honourable Court granting leave to the Defendant/Applicant to serve the Complainant through and on the office  and person of the Director General Department of State Services Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi with the Ruling/Order of Court obtained on the 25 day of July, 2023, “admitting the defendant/Applicant to bail and directing his remand in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service by substituted means to wit: by publishing same in three National Daily Newspapers Circulating within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court and which said service will be deemed as good and proper service on the Prosecutor/Complainant herein”- Daily Trust Newspaper. – Punch Newspaper. -Thisday Newspaper.

“And for such orders and further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case”.

Consequently, Justice Oweibo granted the prayers.

In a 15-paragraph Affidavit in support of the application deposed to by Adeogun Ayodele Samuel from the law firm of Victor Opara, SAN, he stated that the court had on July 25, ordered that the defendant be remanded at the NCoS pending the perfection of the defendant’s bail.

The deponent stated that despite the order granting bail to the defendant on the 25th of July 2023 the DSS re-arrested and whisked the defendant/applicant away from the premises of this honourable court.. 

He stated further that by the action exhibited by the DSS on July 25, 2023, “it would be practically impossible to serve the DSS personally.”

Granting Emefiele bail, the court stated that the charges against the defendant were brought under Sections 4 and 8 of the Firearms Act 2004 and punishable under Section 21(1) and (ii) thereof.

The court held “The offences by the provisions of Section 27 (16) carry a penalty of imprisonment for not more than five (5) years. The offences therefore come under the provisions of Section 162 Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

“That section directed that the court shall release the defendant on bail on his application except any of the circumstances set out in paragraphs (a) – (f) is established.  

“A prosecutor cannot oppose bail merely as a routine procedure. There must be a valid cause or reason for opposing bail. In fact, the onus is on the respondent to show that the applicants are not entitled to bail and has to provide the court with antecedents or probabilities or even the tendency of an applicant escaping from being tried.

“I want to add that it is the prosecution’s duty to provide evidence in support of any of the circumstances set out in Section 162 Administration of Criminal Justice Act. The prosecution has not furnished the Court with such evidence.

“The learned deputy director has laid some fears about the defendant not coming for his trial if released and also influencing his subordinates who the State may call as witnesses.

“On the proof of evidence filed along with the charge, the witnesses listed are officers of the DSS, not the Defendant’s subordinates. I agree with learned senior counsel that they are not facts before the court.

“The defendant is entitled to bail, and the prosecution has failed to show or establish any of the circumstances set out in Section 162 Administration of Criminal Justice Act. Accordingly, the application is granted in the following: the defendant is granted bail in the sum of N20 million with one Surety in like sum.

“Surety to be the owner of landed property Within jurisdiction or to be a public or civil servant not below the rank of deputy director.

“The surety to file two passport photographs and Affidavit of Means. The defendant to deposit his International Passport with the court or if he has none to depose to an affidavit that he has none.

“The particulars of the Surety to be verified by the officers of this court. Case is adjourned to 14th November, 2023 for trial. Pending the perfection of bail terms the defendant to be remanded in the custody of the NCS.”

Wale Igbintade

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