The Federal High Court, Abuja, has granted bail to 12 out of 15 defendants being prosecuted by the Federal Government for allegedly attempting to carry out a search in the Abuja residence of Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court.
They are being prosecuted on an 18 count charge bordering on attempt to execute unlawful search warrant on the Abuja residence of Justice Mary Odili, a serving justice of the Supreme Court.
Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Federal High Court granted each of the 12 defendants bail in the sum of Five Million naira each with two sureties each in the like sum.
According to her one of the two sureties must be a responsible citizen and have a property in Abuja worth not below five million naira .
She also said that the second sureties must be gainfully employed and show evidence of three years tax payment.
In separate rulings on the bail for the defendants filed by their respective lawyers, Justice Maha held that the defendants placed sufficient materials before the court to warrant their being admitted to bail.
Aside the Five Million naira bail bonds, the judge also ordered that the defendants must deposit their international passports with the Deputy Chief Registrar in charge of litigation in the court.
Pending the perfection of thei bail conditions, Justice Maha ordered that they be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.
Meanwhile, the oral bail applications made for the 11th and 15th defendants, ASP Mohammed Yahaya and Abdullahi Usman respectively were refused by the judge on the grounds that no material evidence was placed before the court to justify their oral request for bail.
The judge ordered that the two defendants be kept in Kuje Correctional Centre till the date of the trial.
14th defendant, Abdullahi Adamu, who has no lawyer to apply for his bail, was ordered to be kept at Kuje Correctional Centre till the trial date.
The 15th defendant, who is the only female among them, Hajia Memunat Maisara was ordered to be kept at the Suleja Correctional Centre.
The presiding Judge fixed January 17th and 18th for the commencement of trial.
On October 29, some individuals claiming to be security operatives had stormed the home of the second most senior justice of the supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili, in an attempt to conduct a search.
The incident drew criticisms from many quarters including the Apex court, the Nigerian Bar Association and the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, amongst others, while calling for an independent investigation.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, had recently stated during the supreme Court legal year in Abuja, that efforts were being put in place to ensure that search or arrest warrants are issued with the approval of Chief Judges of respective States or the Federal High Court.
This is to avoid a repeat of the ugly incident.
By Victoria Abah