Ex-Central Bank Chief Emefiele Granted Permission to Travel Outside Abuja


Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigeria President

A Federal Capital Territory High Court has granted a request by former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele to travel outside the capital city of Abuja. The decision relaxes a previous bail condition that restricted his movement after he was charged with fraud in November 2023.

Emefiele’s lawyer, Mathew Bukka, SAN, had argued for a modification of the bail terms, which initially allowed him to move freely only within Abuja. Judge Hamza Muazu of the FCT High Court acceded to the request, allowing Emefiele to travel, though details of the revised travel restrictions, if any, were not immediately available.

Bukka added that the defendant’s traveling documents are with the court, adding that given the status of the defendant, he won’t jump bail.

The counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, did not object.

He said, “From experience, we have seen cases where travel documents are with the court and the defendant will travel out of the country. What they usually do is to go to the immigration and depose an affidavit that their traveling documents are missing.

“So, in addition to his traveling documents being with the court, he should write an undertaking that the defendant will remain in Nigeria for the duration of his trial. I am not in any way suggesting the defendant will jump bail.”

Ruling, the judge held that Emefiele must remain in the country pending the conclusion of his trial.

He said, “The defendant’s application is hereby granted. He must remain in the country for the pendency of his trial.”

Emefiele had been granted bail on November 22nd, 2023, with a N300 million bond and two sureties with similar financial commitments. Additionally, the sureties were required to own landed property in Abuja’s Maitama district.

The former central bank chief faces charges of procurement fraud and abuse of office related to contracts awarded during his tenure. He has denied any wrongdoing.

This latest development in the case allows Emefiele greater freedom of movement, but legal proceedings around the charges are ongoing. The court’s decision and its implications for the ongoing investigation will likely be further clarified in the coming days.

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