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Fire arms possession: Suspended CBN Gov arraigned, granted bail

By Gracia Christopher

Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has granted bail in the sum of N20 million to the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ,Godwin Emefiele charged with illegal possession of firearms .

Emefiele is standing trial on a two-counts charge bordering on possession of a single barrel shot gun, as well as possession of 123 rounds of live ammunition without licences

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

After his plea, defence counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN),who led four other senior advocates, informed the court of a bail application filed on behalf of the defendant.

Defence counsel told the court that same had been served on the prosecution, adding that there is a stamp of the office of the Attorney General as proof.

But the prosecutor, Mrs N.B Jones, objected to the bail application on the grounds that she had not been served with a copy of the application.

She informed the court that her office had been on the look out for a possible bail application of the defendant but had seen none.

She added that since she has just been aware of the application in court, she then requires time to respond by way of affidavit, since facts have been deposed.

Besides, she noted that since there is no sitting Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) at the moment, the defence could not have effectively served same.

But defence counsel told the court that the prosecutor had no excuse not to proceed today in response of the bail application as same had been duly served on prosecution’s office.

He argued that the office of the AGF is a creation of statute, and so cannot exist in a vacuum.

He urged the court to so hold

In a short ruling the court agreed with the submission of defence counsel, and urged him to move the defendant’s bail application.

Moving the application, defence counsel urged the court to admit the defendant to bail as he is not a flight risk being, a reputable former Governor of CBN.

He told the court that the defendant had been kept in custody for long and had lost so much weight and so, requires medical attention.

Defence also informed the court that the defendant will be available to stand trial , adding that assuming the prosecutor had produced a witness, the defence would have been ready to proceed.

He therefore, urged the court to grant the defendant bail.

In response, the prosecutor informed the court that she wss opposed to the bail application of the defendant as he was a flight risk

She told the court that the defendant had refused to submit his international passport which indicates such flight risk

Besides, she also told the court that being a very influential citizen of Nigeria, the defendant could also interfere with the case and evidences intended to be led by prosecution.

She urged the court to refuse bail

In his ruling, Justice Oweibo agreed with the submission of the defence counsel on the grounds that the offence for which the defendant is charged is bailable.

The court held that bail can only be denied where any of the circumstances set out in Section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, is established.

The court held that the prosecution has not furnished such circumstances before the court.

The court consequently, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum

The court held that the surety must depose to an affidavit of means. and have a landed property .

He urged that the defendant be remanded in custody of the correctional service pending perfection of bail

The court adjourned the case until November 14 for trial

In the charge, the prosecutor, told the court that the defendant who resides at No 8 Colorado street in Maitama Abuja, committed the offence on June 15, at No. 3b Iru close, Ikoyi Lagos.

He was alleged to have in his possession a single barrel shot (Jojeff Magnum 8371) without licence.

The defendant was also alleged to have in his possession, 123 rounds of live ammunition cartridges, without licence.

The offence contravenes the provisions of sections 4 and 8 of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Law of the Federation, 2004.

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