Federal High Court Strikes Out Firearms Charges Against Suspended CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele
In a recent development, the Federal High Court in Lagos has taken a decisive step by striking out the charges of illegal possession of firearms against the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
The decision was made by Justice Nicholas Oweibo on Thursday, following an application from Mohammed Abubakar, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the Ministry of Justice, to withdraw the two-count charge against Emefiele.
The withdrawal of the charges was based on Section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, which provides a legal avenue for the prosecution to withdraw charges when deemed appropriate.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Abubakar, invoked this provision in support of the decision to withdraw the charges.
However, the withdrawal was not without its share of legal arguments.
Emefiele’s counsel, J.B. Daodu, asserted that the prosecution’s attempt to withdraw the charges was unwarranted until the government addressed its own non-compliance with the court’s previous order. Notably, on July 25, the court had granted Emefiele bail in the amount of N20 million.
Justice Oweibo weighed the arguments and ultimately granted the Federal Government’s application to withdraw the charges.
In his ruling, the judge expressed concern over the conduct of the prosecution, which he perceived as a disregard for the rule of law.
He questioned the utility of keeping the case on the court’s docket when the prosecution had demonstrated disrespect for the court’s directives.
“The conduct of the prosecution has shown that it doesn’t respect the rule of law,” Justice Oweibo stated.
“Of what benefit will it be to keep the file in the court’s docket when the prosecution has shown disrespect to the court? Accordingly, this charge is hereby struck out for lack of diligent prosecution,” he declared.
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The decision to strike out the charges marks a significant legal development in the case against Godwin Emefiele.
The Federal High Court’s ruling not only highlights the importance of upholding the rule of law but also underscores the judiciary’s commitment to ensuring a fair and just legal process.
As the legal proceedings continue, this decision is expected to have far-reaching implications for the case and its broader implications for the Nigerian legal system.