A federal high court in Lagos has granted bail to Godwin Emefiele, the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in the amount of N20 million. The presiding judge, Nicholas Oweibo, ruled that the charges against Emefiele are eligible for bail. The bail was allowed with the condition of one surety who can provide the specified sum.
Earlier, Emefiele pleaded not guilty to two charges related to the alleged illegal possession of firearms. The federal government accused him of having 123 rounds of live ammunition (cartridges) without a license.
After Emefiele entered his plea, his legal team, led by Joseph Daodu, a senior advocate of Nigeria, presented a bail application, requesting the court to grant bail to their client on self-recognizance or other reasonable terms until the trial is concluded. Daodu emphasized that Emefiele is a well-known banker and would not attempt to evade the legal process.
Nkiru Nebo-Jones, a deputy director of prosecution at the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), opposed the bail application, stating that she had not received a copy of the document. However, Daodu pointed out that the office of the AGF was indeed served with the bail application, and the proof of service was available in the court’s file. He urged the court to hear the bail application and end the alleged intimidation of his client by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Judge Oweibo rejected the prosecution’s objection to the hearing of the bail application. He ruled that the surety must possess property within the court’s jurisdiction and provide an affidavit of means. Emefiele was also required to deposit his international passport with the court registry. The judge decided that the CBN governor should be remanded in the correctional center until his bail conditions are met. The next hearing was scheduled for November 14, 2023.
On June 9, President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele and directed him to transfer his responsibilities to Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, the deputy governor of the operations directorate. The following day, the Department of State Services (DSS) announced that Emefiele was in their custody for investigative reasons.
Subsequently, on July 13, a federal capital territory high court ordered the DSS to charge Emefiele in court if they had a solid case against him. Judge Hamza Muazu stated that Emefiele should be released on bail if he was not taken to a competent court within a week. The DSS argued that during his custody, Emefiele had access to his family members and medical doctors.