Nigeria’s Central Bank Chief Emefiele Arraigned On Firearm Charges, Pleads Not Guilty

By John Ikani

The suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has appeared at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The charges brought against him by the Department of State Services (DSS) involved two counts of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Standing before the vacation judge, Justice Nicholas Oweibo, Emefiele was accompanied by a team of legal experts, led by the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu, who passionately defended the embattled CBN chief.

Emefiele firmly pleaded not guilty to the charges levied against him with his lawyer, Daudu, raising concerns about the suspended CBN chief’s prolonged detention, asserting that the bail application had been filed and served on the prosecution.

Emefiele’s Travails

The crisis surrounding Emefiele commenced when President Bola Tinubu decided to suspend him from his position as the apex bank chief on June 9, 2023.

Subsequently, the DSS confirmed his custody a day later.

In response to mounting pressure, an Abuja High Court ordered the DSS to either charge Emefiele to court within one week or release him.

Consequently, the DSS announced that Emefiele had been charged in compliance with the court order.

The charges filed by the Federal Government specifically accused Emefiele of possessing a single-barrel shotgun (JOJEFF MAGNUM 8371) without a proper license, a violation of Section 4 of the Firearms Act, Cap F28 Laws of the Federation 2004, punishable under Section 27 (1b) of the same Act.

In addition, he was accused of having 123 rounds of live ammunition (Cartridges) without a license, contravening 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.

The first count of the charges read: “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.”

The second count was outlined as follows: “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.”

While Emefiele sought bail on self-recognizance, the court has yet to render a decision on the matter, prolonging the suspense surrounding the fate of the suspended CBN Governor. The nation eagerly awaits the unfolding of this high-stakes legal battle.

Credit GistNew

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