The detention of former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele by the Department of State Service, DSS, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for an extended period has been viewed by many as executive rascality, brazen disregard, and contempt of Court.
However, Emefiele’s release on bail has been seen as a significant victory for the rule of law in Nigeria.
The ruling by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi affirms that no one should be kept in custody without charge for a prolonged period and that the court has the power to grant bail in such cases.
Emefiele’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa (SAN), had argued that his client’s detention was unjustified and that he was not a flight risk.
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However, lawyers to the respondents, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Chairman of the EFCC and the EFCC, Oyin Koleosho and Abdullah prayed the court not to grant bail to Emefiele because a charge was pending against him for which his arraignment has been scheduled for November 15.
The judge agreed and ordered Emefiele’s release to his lawyers and also directed that he deposit all his international travelling documents with the Senior Registrar of the court pending his formal arraignment or pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s substantive motion on notice filed before this court, whichever is earlier.
Emefiele was brought to the court by a group of operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and was shielded by his lawyers from some angry individuals who were unhappy that he was granted bail.
This decision sends a strong message that the Nigerian judiciary will not tolerate arbitrary detention and will uphold the rights of citizens to due process and fair trial.