Update: Why court insists Lagos Speaker pay N1bn bail bond in 48hrs or be jailed

EFCC said the speaker mismanaged N673 million, not N500 million.

A Judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos, Ibrahim Buba, on Monday, refused granting bail on self recognition to the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, slamming a N1 billion bail on him instead.

Mr. Ikuforiji was re-arraigned before Mr. Buba for alleged money laundering, alongside his aide, Oyebode Atoyebi, following the retirement of the previous judge on the case, Okechukwu Okeke.

In a ruling which surprised many present in court, the judge said that he was not bound by the terms of the bail earlier granted the Lagos Speaker by Mr. Okeke.

Mr. Ikuforiji had been enjoying freedom based on a bail granted him on self recognition by the former trial judge; while Mr. Atoyebi’s bail was secured by the Clerk of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

“They will not be remanded in prison if they are able to perfect the bail conditions within 48 hours,” said Mr. Buba on Monday. “But if they fail, a bench warrant will be issued against them.”

The Speaker’s trial before Mr. Okeke, who retired last month, had been riddled with controversies and series of adjournments forcing the judge to eventually adjourn the 13-month proceedings indefinitely.

Monday’s re-arraignment saw the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, increase the money laundering allegations from the initial N500 million to N673 million in an amended 54-count charge. The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Tayo Oyetibo, counsel to Mr. Ikuforiji, told the judge that he had filed a bail application “out of caution,” although his client ought to have continued on his bail since the charges were largely the same. Mr. Oyetibo added that Mr. Ikuforiji had never defaulted in attending his trials.

The judge responded by initially slamming a N5 billion bail with two sureties in like sum for each of the defendants, stunning the lawyers and forcing Mr. Oyetibo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and Tunde Akinrimisi to plead for a reduction to N1 billion.

Both lawyers said that none of their clients was worth N5 billion.

In the end, Mr. Buba acquiesced, insisting that they meet the bail conditions within 48 hours or be remanded in prison pending when they perfect them.

The amended charges, dated June 4, 2013, accused the speaker and his aide of conspiracy and accepting cash payments amounting to N673 million from the Lagos State House of Assembly without going through any financial institution.

Last February, a request by Godwin Obla, EFCC counsel, for Mr. Okeke to withdraw from the case because his impending retirement in May could make him unable to conclude the trial was turned down by the judge. However, last month, while adjourning the case indefinitely, Mr. Okeke accused the EFCC of a “deliberate act” to delay the trial.

Mr. Okeke, who also withdrew from the case, stated that there were “tactics set by persons to blackmail the court.”


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  • Okey

    Very good! At last we are getting somewhere with corruption fight.

  • Stir

    I dont know but I have never seen where the bail amount exceeds the alleged stolen amount.

    • Afam

      The issue is to deter his likes from committing such crime because politicians think that stealing over N1b they will get bail with N500k ,the era is getting over,CJF is determined to sack many judges and suspend many more lawyers,they are in collabo with politicians.

  • Efe1

    The bail amount should have been N1Trillion. bastard

  • Omo Akin

    Okey, Efe 1, and Afam – Your comments are unfortunate in the sense that this Judge ought to know better not to play to the gallery. Everyone is presumed innocent until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The purpose of bail is to secure the attendance of an accused person to answer to the charges filed against him/her. These are the basic laws of the land and backed by the Constitution. The record showed that the previous judge granted the accused bail and the accused never missed a court date. It is only a Federal Character judge like this that will ignore established legal principles and make rulings intended for public applause. The principle is so well established that the prosecutor did not deem it necessary to oppose bail and left it to the court. Of course, the interest of the prosecutor is that the accused should be attending his trial and this has been the case. What then is reason for the judge to impose onerous bail condition?
    My point is not to defend the accused person. My point is to point out the fact that this judge is unnecessarily vindictive and violates established legal principles. Bail is a right. When bail is granted to you on condition you cannot prefect, you have been denied that right; that is the point.

    • Okey

      How did you conclude he cannot perfect the bail condition? If you listened to the news, you would have noticed that the accused team said they will surely perfect the bail! There is a new Sheriff in town. Former judge cried out that he was being frustrated. We know their usual tactics of delays but this time it will be in their interest to quickly conclude the case. That is if they are really innocent. If all judges treat corruption cases like this I bet there will be sanity! Unusual problems need unusual solutions

      • Afam

        Thank you..@Amo Akin..your likes are the hypocrites….let our judges follow this example..place the bail bounty above the actual amount those politicians are stealing..it will bring sanity in our system.

    • domnze

      This is why it will be impossible to reduce corruption in this country. In China this level of stealing is worth capital punishment.
      Someone would shamelessly come out to condemn a judge for being strict in applying the rules in Nigeria.

  • Eugene Cave

    I’m not sure a bail bondsman in Albuquerque could come up with that much money. It’s a pretty crazy industry.