Nigeria: Emefiele Regains Freedom After Five Months in Detention

Mr Emefiele regained his freedom after a court in Abuja granted him bail on Wednesday and ordered him to be released from almost five-month detention.

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has regained his freedom after almost five months in detention over corruption allegations, one of his top lawyers confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.

His release from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is based on Wednesday’s ruling of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja granting him bail.

Confirming the release of the former CBN chief to our reporter on Thursday, one of his lawyers, Matthew Burkaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said he went home from the court on Wednesday.

“The court released him to us (his lawyers) yesterday. We left the court with him,” Mr Burkaa told PREMIUM TIMES over the telephone on Thursday.

Mr Emefiele was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) on 10 June, the day after he was suspended as CBN governor, and has since remained in custody.

SSS only recently transferred him to EFCC in late October.

Although the Nigerian constitution limits the detention period of a suspect to a maximum of 48 hours, the law permits law enforcement agencies to extend the detention period with the permission of a court of law.

The SSS had claimed it obtained a court order to prolong his detention, before recently transferring his custody to the EFCC to continue investigating the case against him.

But the judge, Olukayode Adeniyi, ruling on Mr Emefiele’s bail application on Wednesday, said: “There must be an end to the number of days in detention.”

The judge ruled that the applicant had been detained beyond the legal limits and against the provision of section 46 (2) of the Nigerian constitution.

The judge ordered that he be released to his three leading lawyers, including Mr Burkaa.

The judge also directed the senior lawyers to produce him in court for arraignment on 15 November. But details of the charges on which he is scheduled to be arraigned are not yet clear.

The court also ordered Mr Emefiele to submit all his travel documents to the court’s registrar.

The court gave the order in a ruling on the bail application which Mr Emefiele filed under his broader fundamental rights enforcement suit.

Mr Emefiele, who is facing months-long investigations over corruption allegations, attended Wednesday’s proceedings, after his last public appearance in court in August.

His release on bail came on the heels of the court’s order on two previous occasions directing the EFCC to either produce him in court or release him unconditionally.

The judge first issued the order on 2 November.

He repeated the order on Monday.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *