A federal high court in Lagos has fixed 15 August to entertain applications regarding the custody of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Nicholas Oweibo, the judge, on Thursday, adjourned hearing of the applications seeking to stop further prosecution of the bank chief and that of the federal government seeking to appeal the bail granted him by the court.
On 25 July, Mr Emefiele was arraigned on a two-count charge bordering on “illegal possession” of firearms and live ammunition at a federal high court in Ikoyi and was granted bail in the sum of N20 million.
The judge had ordered that Mr Emefiele be kept in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions.
But the State Security Services (SSS) insisted that Mr Emefiele must return to its custody — a development that led to the face-off between the secret police and prison officials.
After the face-off, the SSS in violation of the court order rearrested the suspended bank chief on the court premises.
The secret service proceeded to file an application before a high court of the Federal Capital Territory seeking to further detain him.
The application was struck out after it was withdrawn by the service over jurisdictional concerns.
On 3 August, the federal government also filed an application before the federal high court in Lagos, seeking leave to appeal against the order granting bail to Mr Emefiele.
In the application filed by Nkiru Jones-Nebo, a deputy director of public prosecutions of the federation, the federal government also sought a stay of execution of the order remanding Mr Emefiele in the custody of the NCoS.
The federal government wants the court to remand Mr Emefiele in the custody of the SSS.
In the application filed by Mr Emefiele’s lawyer, he asked the court to restrain the federal government from further prosecuting the instant charge or any other charge against him or seeking any form of indulgence before the court, inclusive of the application to grant leave to appeal against the order granting the appellant bail and other ancillary orders.
They said the federal government is in “brazen disobedience” of the subsisting orders of the court granting Mr Emefiele bail on 25 July.
Mr Emefiele further asked the court for an order to stay further proceedings in the present charge until he exhausts all the remedies available to him in law to compel the government to obey the order of the court admitting him to bail or remanding him in the custody of the NCoS until he perfects his bail terms.
During the court proceedings on Thursday, K.A. Fagbemi, the prosecuting lawyer, asked the court to hear the federal government’s application seeking a stay of execution of the court order on Mr Emefiele’s bail.
Mr Fagbemi said the federal government filed its application first and served it on the defence lawyers on 4 August.
Responding, Victor Opara, the lawyer to Mr Emefiele, said priority should not be given to the federal government based on time of filing since the court order was disobeyed.
He argued that both parties’ applications should be entertained on the same day, adding the federal government had nothing to lose since the defendant is still in its custody.
After listening to both arguments, the judge ruled that the applications filed by both parties will be heard on 15 August.
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