The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, November 6, failed to produce the embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Maitama, as it was directed to do.
LIB had earlier reported that Justice Olukayode Adeniyi had on November 2, ordered the anti-graft agency to either release Emefiele unconditionally or produce him in court to be granted bail. However, at the resumed proceeding in the matter today, Emefiele’s lawyer, Mathew Burkaa, told the court that EFCC failed to obey its directive to produce Emefiele.
“My lord they have flouted both orders as today marks the 149th day of the Applicant being in custody. The Applicant is still in custody of the 3rd and 4th Respondents, up till this moment that we speak,” Emefiele’s lawyer added.
On his part, the lawyer that represented the EFCC, Mr Farouk Abdullahi, while confirming that the order was served on the Commission, said it was not true that Emefiele has been in the custody of the agency for over 100 days.
“My lord, I do confirm that we received the order. It is however not correct that the Applicant has been in custody of the 3rd and 4th Respondent for over 100 days. He has only been in custody of 3rd and 4th for only 7 days. We got the processes and we intend to react to them to set the record straight. Unfortunately, we are unable to do so because the processes received by 3rd and 4th respondents were incomplete. We are not insinuating that it was deliberate, it may be inadvertent on the part of counsel for the Applicant. Certain exhibits they referred to, particularly exhibit E, were not attached.”
Queried by the judge if the absence of the exhibit was sufficient reason for EFCC to disobey the order of the court, Farouk, said they misunderstood the order.
“My lord, we thought that the order was that we either release him unconditionally or bring him to the court so that his bail application will be heard. My lord, the 3rd Respondent is a law-abiding establishment that will never take orders of this court for granted,” the EFCC lawyer pleaded.
Meanwhile, before he adjourned the matter till November 8, Justice Adeniyi reinstated the orders of the court. He ordered the EFCC to either release Emefiele unconditionally or in the alternative, produce him in court on the next adjourned date to be admitted to bail.
Emefiele, who has been in detention since June 9, approached the court to enforce his fundamental human rights. Aside from seeking his immediate release from EFCC custody, he is praying the court to award him damages to the tune of N5 million.