Alleged Abuse Of Office: Emefiele Questions Court’s Jurisdiction To Try Him

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The Lagos State Special Offences Court, Ikeja, presided over by Justice Rahman Oshodi, on Monday adjourned until the end of the trial, his verdict on the application instituted by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try him on the charge made against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It would be recalled that the former CBN boss had through his counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), insisted that he could not be prosecuted in the High Court of any state in Nigeria for alleged acts of abuse of office as this raises issues of constitutionality and legality.

Emefiele further maintained that counts 1-4 of the 26 counts charge initiated by the anti-graft agency against him are unconstitutional as they are not contained in any law in Nigeria.

The former CBN governor prayed to the court to issue an order striking out counts one to four of the charge on the grounds that: “The Honourable Court has no jurisdiction to try the offence of abuse of office in relation to the office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria which the 1st defendant occupied at all times material to the commission of the offences.

“The 1st defendant’s/applicant’s acts said to constitute arbitrary acts resulting in abuse of office are not offences known to the law as mandatorily required by Section 36(12) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.”

But the counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), opposed Emefiele’s contentions.

In referring to decided cases of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, he asked the trial judge not to defer or prevent the trial of the case on the basis of objections challenging the particulars of the counts of the information.

Oyedepo, said, “That approach is intended to take us back to where we are coming from as this was the basis for Section 1 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, and the purpose for which Administration of Criminal Justice Law, ACJL, was intended. The intention of our collective resolution as a nation was to prevent undue delay in our criminal cases.

“I urge my lord to refuse this invitation, the trial has commenced, this application to prevent the trial today is unlawful, illegal, and unconstitutional and I urge the court not to depart from the decision of the apex court as to do so would amount to judicial rascality.”

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