Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, admitted to bail in the sum of N5 million each, 13 out of the 15 defendants arraigned over complicity in the invasion of the residence of a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Mary Peter-Odili.
The defendants were admitted to bail in the said sum with two sureties in like sum. While the court declined to grant an oral application for the 11th and 15th defendants, it held that their was no bail application in respect of the 14th defendant.
Justice Maha subsequently ordered their remand at the Kuje Correctional Centre, pending the next adjourned date of January 17 and 18, 2022.The defendants were arraigned by the Nigeria Police Force on an 18-count charge, bordering on alleged conspiracy to commit felony and alleged forgery of court documents.Other charges included attempt to effect an unlawful search warrant at the house of the second most senior Justice of the country as well as threat to her life and that of members of her household.
The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges, following which their lawyers moved and argued their bail application, which were not opposed by prosecution counsel, Mr Mathew Amosun, on the grounds that the court attach “stringent conditions” to the bail.Delivering ruling in the applications, Justice Maha held that bail was at the discretion of the court and since the alleged offences were bailable, the court was inclined to admit the defendants to bail, adding that the court, having reviewed materials placed before it, found no reason not to admit the defendants to bail.
Part of the bail conditions were that the sureties, who must be residents of Abuja, must deposed to affidavit of means and must be responsible citizens.The court held that one of the sureties must own landed property, with original copies of the property deposited with the Registrar of the Court, while the second surety must be gainfully employed in Abuja, with proof of three years recent tax payment.Registrar of court was to verify the properties alongside their addresses.The applicants and sureties were also to submit recent passport photographs with the court, as well as their international passports.
They were subsequently remanded at the Kuje Correctional Center pending the perfection of their bail, except for the only female amongst them, Hajiya Maimuna Maishanu, who would be remanded at the Suleja Correctional Center.The 15 defendants were part of the 22 arrested and paraded on November 11 by the police headquarters, Abuja.Although the police had charged only 20, but only 15 were brought to court with four others said to be at large.Those arraigned were Adjodo F. Lawrence (Aka Ola Ojo), Micheal Diete-spiff, Alex Onyekuru, Bayero Lawal (aka director of EFCC), Igwe Ernest, Aliyu Umar Ibrahim, Maimuna Maishanu, Ayodele Akindipe (Aka Herbalist) and Yusuf Adaiu (aka godson to Peter Odili)Others were Bashir Musa, Stanley Nkwazema, Shehu Jibo, Abdulahi Adamu, Mohammed Yahaya, Abdulahi Usman.
Those not in court were Sani Bala, Godwin Lucas (at large), Solomon Bagudu (at large), Austin M (at large) and Michael M (at large).They were brought into the court around 1.45pm by heavily armed security operatives.The suspects had on October 29, 2021, acting on a controversial warrant of arrest issued by a Wuse Magistrate Court, attempted to gain access into the house of Justice Odili.
They had claimed to be members of a special recovery panel in the Federal Ministry of Justice, although the ministry had since denied them, same as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Service (DSS) and Police. But following public outcry, the police swung into action and arrested 22 persons out of which 15 were arraigned yesterday.
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