By Charles Igwe
On Thursday, a Federal High Court situated in Lagos dismissed the charges of illegal firearm possession and ammunition against Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The charges were struck down due to lack of diligent prosecution. This development emerged following an application by the Federal Government to withdraw the charges.
In a separate development, the anticipated arraignment of Emefiele on a new 20-count charge was adjourned on the same day at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama. The postponement was attributed to the absence of one of the defendants involved in the case. Justice Muazu subsequently rescheduled the case to August 23.
During proceedings at the Federal High Court in Lagos, Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted the Federal Government’s application to withdraw the charges against Emefiele. The oral application, presented by Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) within the Federal Ministry of Justice, cited emerging facts requiring further investigation. Abubakar sought the court’s approval for the withdrawal.
However, Emefiele’s legal representative, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), contested the application. Daudu asserted that the government had disregarded the court’s order to detain Emefiele in the Nigeria Correctional Service, thus implying that the government’s application should not be entertained by the court. He also emphasized that the application for withdrawal of charges must be submitted in written form.
It is noteworthy that on July 25, the court had granted Emefiele bail with a sum of N20 million after he was arraigned on a two-count charge concerning the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.