Solomon Odeniyi and Onozure Dania
The Department of State Services, on Thursday, withdrew the firearms charges it filed against the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo, in a ruling, therefore, struck out the charges “for want of diligent prosecution.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, had at the previous hearing made an oral application for the withdrawal of the charges against Emefiele.
Abubakar stated that the application was informed by the emergence of fresh facts and circumstances that needed further investigation, and he urged the court to grant the application.
But Emefiele’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu (SAN), insisted application to withdraw the charges must be in writing rather than oral.
“I have never heard of the withdrawal of a case without a nolle prosequi. In the interest of justice, we need to prevent abuse of legal processes.
“I urge the court to reject the application and order the learned DPP to go on with today’s business,” Dauda had said.
The court had then adjourned till Thursday for a ruling.
The PUNCH had learnt on Tuesday that the withdrawal of the firearms charges was connected to the filing of corruption charges against Emefiele before an Abuja court.
This newspaper also reported that Emefiele would be arraigned for alleged N6.9bn procurement fraud.
However, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Thursday, adjourned the alleged N6.9bn procurement case till August 23.
Emefiele was to be arraigned alongside a female CBN employee, Sa’adatu Yaro, and a company allegedly said to be owned by her, April 1616 Investment Limited.
However, when the matter was called on Thursday, Emefiele who was in court, entered the dock but his plea could not be taken.
The DPP, Abubakar, told the court that the second defendant was reportedly sick and could not make it to court.
Abubakar apologised to the court and pleaded for a new date for the arraignment.
The request for adjournment was not opposed by Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN) who appeared for Emefiele.
Kehinde, however, applied for the court’s permission to have a brief audience with Emefiele which was granted due to no objection from the Federal Government.
Consequently, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the arraignment till August 23.
In the charges, Emefiele and his co-defendants were alleged to have bought a fleet of over 98 exotic vehicles and armoured buses valued at about N6.9bn.