HomeCRIME REPORTEmefiele Arraigned, Pleads Not Guilty To Firearm Charges

Emefiele Arraigned, Pleads Not Guilty To Firearm Charges

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Suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday morning, was arraigned at the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on two counts of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

Emefiele was arraigned before the vacation judge, Justice Nicholas Oweibo, after over six weeks since his arrest and detention by the Department of State Services (DSS).

After several legal fireworks by Emefiele’s counsel challenging his prolonged detention by the DSS, the secret police bowed to pressure on July 13, 2023 and announced that the suspended apex bank chief has been charged to court.

Emefiele was brought to court by DSS operatives in a hilux vehicle on Tuesday, July 25, 2023.

Appearing before Justice Oweibo, Emefiele pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu, led other lawyers in Emefiele’s defence.

After Emefiele’s plea, Daudu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), told the court that his client has been in detention for weeks. He also told Justice Oweibo that the application for bail has been filed and served on the prosecution.

Meanwhile, the DSS raised objections to the court hearing the bail application, insisting that it has not been served.

Emefiele’s Travails
President Bola Tinubu had suspended Emefiele as the apex bank chief on June 9, 2023. A day after, the DSS confirmed that the embattled, suspended CBN chief was in its custody.

An Abuja High Court on July 13, 2023 subsequently ordered that the secret police charge Emefiele to court within one week or release him.

Hours after, the DSS said Emefiele has been charged to court in compliance with the court order.

The Federal Government later filed two counts of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition against Emefiele before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The FG, in the charge sheet, accused Emefiele of possessing a single-barrel shotgun (JOJEFF MAGNUM 8371) without a licence.

The government maintained that the offence is contrary to Section 4 of the Firearms Act, Cap F28 Laws of the Federation 2004, and punishable under Section 27 (1b) of the same Act.

In the second count, the suspended CBN Governor was accused of having in his possession 123 rounds of live ammunition (Cartridges) without a licence, which is contrary to Section 8 of the Firearms Act Cap F28 Laws of the Federation 2004 and punishable under Section 27 (1)(b)(il) of the same Act.

Count one of the charges reads, ‘That you, Godwin Emefiele, Male, of No. 8 Colorado Street Maitama Abuja, on or about the 15th of June 2023, at No. 3b Iru Close, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government, Lagos State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, had in your possession one (1) Single Barrel shotgun (JOJEFF MAGNUM 8371) without a licence. You thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4 of the Firearms Act, Cap. F28 Laws of the Federation 2004, and punishable under Section 27 (1b) of the same Act’.

Count two: ‘That you, Godwin Emefiele, Male, of No. 8 Colorado Street Maitama Abuja, on or about June 15, 2023, at No. 3b Iru Close, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government, Lagos State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, had in your possession One Hundred and Twenty-Three (123) Rounds of live ammunition (Cartridges) without a licence You thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 of the Firearms Act Cap F28 Laws of the Federation 2004 and punishable under Section 27 (1)(b)(il) of the same Act.’

Emefiele would later ask the court to admit him to bail on self recognizance but the court has not ruled on the matter.

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