On Thursday, the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court struck out charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition preferred against the suspended governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo struck out the charges for lack of diligent prosecution following an application by the federal government to withdraw the charges.
The oral application was made on Tuesday by Mohammed Abubakar, the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in the federal ministry of justice.
Mr Abubakar said the application was informed by emerging facts needing further investigation and prayed the court to grant the application.
Mr Emefiele’s counsel, Joseph Daudu, opposed the application.
Mr Daudu argued that the government disobeyed the court’s order granting Mr Emefiele’s bail and should not have its application entertained by the court.
“We have an application that the government has flouted the court’s order which says the respondent/ defendant should be remanded at the Nigeria Correctional Service,” Mr Emefiele’s lawyer submitted.
Mr Daudu added that the application for withdrawal of charges must be in writing.
Ruling on the application on Thursday, Mr Oweibo held that section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act empowered the DPP to withdraw the two-count charge.
He also held there was no requirement for the application to be in writing.
“The prosecution has shown signs that they are not law-abiding and have no respect for the court. Of what benefit will it be to keep the file in the court’s docket? I believe the proper thing is to allow them to withdraw the charge,” stated Mr Oweibo.
The judge ruled: “The application to withdraw is hereby granted.”
On July 25, the court admitted Mr Emefiele to N20 million bail after he was arraigned on a two-count charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
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