Court Strikes Out Firearms Charge Against Emefiele

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday dismissed the weapons allegations brought against the Central Bank of Nigeria’s suspended governor, Godwin Emefiele.

After Mohammed Abubakar, the director of public prosecution for the Ministry of Justice, requested that the case be withdrawn, Justice Nicholas Oweibo ruled that there had been a lack of diligent prosecution.

There is no requirement that the application be made in writing, said Judge Oweibo, who claimed that Section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) gives him the authority to withdraw the charge.

Justice Oweibo said, “The prosecution has shown that they are not law abiding and have no respect for the court. The court cannot force them. What good will it be for the defendant who is in custody? Of what benefit will it be to keep the file in the court’s docket?

“I believe the proper thing is to allow them withdraw the charge. They can simply abandon it and the court will still have to strike it out for lack of diligent prosecution. The application to withdraw is hereby granted.”

The DPP has made an oral application to the court to withdraw the charge against Emefiele at the last adjourned date.

Abubakar disclosed that the application was made due to emerging facts and for circumstances that need for further investigations

Consequently, he urged the court to grant the application.

On 25 July, Mr Emefiele was arraigned on a two-count charge of “illegal possession” of firearms and live ammunition.

He was also granted bail of N20 million. However, in violation of the court order asking that he be detained at the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) pending fulfilment of hisbail conditions, the SSS rearrested Mr Emefiele immediately he stepped out of the courtroom.

He was rearrested after officials of the two federal agencies engaged in fisticuffs over his custody.