The embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has returned to his Abuja residence after spending 151 days in the custody of security agencies.
This was followed by his release on bail by a High Court sitting in Abuja.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu had, on June 9, suspended Emefiele from office as the head of the apex bank.
He was later arrested at his Lagos residence by the Department of State Services, DSS.
The former CBN boss was later transferred to the EFCC detention facility on October 26 by the DSS.
However, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, sitting at Maitama, on Wednesday ordered his release from detention despite objections from both the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The court, in the ruling delivered by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, directed that the embattled former CBN governor be released to his lawyers. However, it ordered him to surrender all his international traveling documents.
“There must be an end to detention without trial,” the judge held, noting that the court had, in an earlier ruling it delivered on November 2, ordered the anti-graft agency to either release the Applicant unconditionally or produce him for his bail request to be considered.
According to Justice Adeniyi, it was owing to EFCC’s refusal to comply with the first leg of the order that led to the production of Emefiele before the court on Wednesday.
He directed that Emefiele should be released to a team of three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) that represented him in the matter, adding that they should produce him in court on the day of his planned arraignment or at any other date that he is required to appear in court.
Justice Adeniyi directed Emefiele to surrender all his international documents to the most senior court Registrar pending his arraignment.
He subsequently adjourned further proceedings in the case till November 17.
Meanwhile, Emefiele, who was brought before the high court on Wednesday by armed security operatives attached to the EFCC, had, in the course of the proceeding, told the court that he had yet to receive a copy of the fresh charge against him.
His lawyer, Burkaa, had, while urging the court not to deny him bail based on the preliminary objection and affidavit of fact that the AGF filed, maintained that they were yet to receive a copy of the charge.
“My lord, even as at this moment, they have not served my client with the charge they claimed has been filed against him.
“The submission that his release on bail will impede his arraignment is highly speculative. There is nothing suggesting that the Applicant is a flight risk or that he had at any time made himself unavailable for trial.
“My lord, let the Applicant breathe! The fact is that the state loses nothing by releasing the Applicant to bail,” he pleaded.
Turning to Emefiele, who was sitting in the gallery, Justice Adeniyi said: “Let us hear from the Applicant if he has been served. Applicant, have you been served,” the judge queried Emefiele.
Responding, the frail-looking ex-CBN governor said: “My lord, I don’t have any charge.”
According to Vanguard, amid fears that he would be re-arrested by security operatives, Emefiele left the court premises in a Jeep brought by one of his lawyers shortly after the proceeding ended.
Sodiq Lawal is a passionate and dedicated journalist with a knack for uncovering captivating stories in the bustling metropolis of Osun State and Nigeria at large. He has a versatile reporting style, covering a wide range of topics, from politics , campus, and social issues to arts and culture, seeking impact in all facets of the society.