Court approves withdrawal of ‘illegal possession of firearm’ charge against Emefiele


A federal high court in Lagos has approved the withdrawal of
the illegal possession of firearm charge filed against Godwin Emefiele,
suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).


On July 25, Emefiele was arraigned on a two-count charge
bordering on “illegal possession” of firearms and was granted bail in the sum
of N20 million.


Nicholas Oweibo, the judge, had ordered that Emefiele be
kept in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) pending the
fulfilment of his bail conditions.


But the DSS insisted that 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, DSS rearrested Emefiele on the court


On August 3, the federal government filed an application
seeking leave to appeal against the order granting bail to Emefiele.


However, on August 15, the federal government made an oral
application to withdraw the charge of “illegal possession of firearms” against


Mohammed Abubakar, the director of public prosecution (DPP)
of the federation, said the decision to withdraw the charge is backed by
sections 174 (1) and (3) of the 1999 constitution and sections 108 (1), (2) and
(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.


The DPP said the application of withdrawal was informed by
“emerging facts and circumstances of this case that required closer investigation”.


Ruling on the application on Thursday, the judge agreed that
the federal government has the right to withdraw the charge.


“The prosecution has shown that they are not law-abiding and
have no respect for the court,” he said.


“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.”


Meanwhile, the federal government proceeded to file a
20-count criminal charge against Emefiele in Abuja.


Although the arraignment was scheduled for Thursday, it was
stalled due to the absence of the co-defendants.



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