In a recent development, Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos has ruled in favor of the Federal Government’s application to withdraw the charge of “illegal possession of firearm and possession” against the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
The Justice’s ruling was based on the provisions outlined in Section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), which empowers him to permit the withdrawal of the charge without the requirement for a written application.
While delivering his decision, Justice Oweibo pondered the consequences of not allowing the withdrawal and how it would affect the defense. He stated, “The prosecution has shown that they are not law-abiding and have no respect for the court. The court cannot force them. 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? I believe the proper thing is to allow them to withdraw the charge.”
Acknowledging that the prosecution’s request aligns with the principles of diligent prosecution, Justice Oweibo granted the application for withdrawal, adding that even if the charge is abandoned, the court would ultimately have to strike it out due to lack of diligent prosecution.
This decision marks a significant development in the ongoing legal proceedings involving Emefiele and underscores the court’s commitment to upholding the principles of justice and due process.