Nigerian Government has ‘No Respect for Court’ – Judge


The President Bola Tinubu administration has no respect for the rule of law, a judge said during a ruling on Thursday.

Nicholas Oweibo, a federal high court judge, in Lagos said this while giving his ruling on the ‘illegal possession of firearms and ammunition” charges against the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

On Tuesday, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) at the federal ministry of justice, Abubakar Mohammed, had filed an oral application seeking the withdrawal of the two-count charge.

The prosecutor told the judge that its decision to withdraw the charges was informed by emerging facts and circumstances of the case which require closer investigation.

“The prosecution has shown that they are not law abiding and have no respect for the court. The court cannot force them,” the judge said.

“What good will it be for the defendant who is in custody? Of what benefit will it be to keep the file in the court’s docket?”

“To stop the embarrassment of the court and to keep its integrity intact, I believe the proper thing is to allow them withdraw the charge.

“They can simply abandon it and the court will still have to strike it out for lack of diligent prosecution. The application to withdraw is hereby granted.”


On Tuesday, Mr Mohammed told the judge that the application for withdrawal was based on the result of more investigations conducted by the government.

Mr Mohammed later told journalists that they “will probably come back with more charges, more counts” against the suspended bank chief.

On 25 July, Mr Emefiele was arraigned on a two-count charge of “illegal possession” of firearms and live ammunition.

The government had accused the bank chief of possessing a single- barrel shotgun (JOJEFF MAGNUM 8371) without a licence, 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 defendant was also 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.

The defendant had pleaded not guilty to the charge, a development which made the court grant him bail in the sum of N20 million and ordered that he be remanded with the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS). The order was flouted by the State Security Service (SSS).

But the federal government explained to journalists that they did not disobey the court order but certain administrative processes “slowed down” compliance.

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