From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court, on Monday, granted bail to three of the remaining 15 suspects who allegedly raided the residence of Supreme Court judge, Mary Odili.
Justice Nkeonye Maha admitted them to a N5 million bail each, after the prosecution counsel, Matthew Omosun, did not oppose their bail application.
Maha also ruled that the second surety must be gainfully employed in Abuja, having paid his or her tax for three years. The judge said the documents of the landed property should be submitted to the registry of the court.
In addition, the judge ordered that the defendants must submit their passports to the registry and directed that all the defendants be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre, pending the perfection of their bail terms.
She noted that, though the prosecution did not oppose the applications, it did not preclude the court from looking at the merit of the matter, based on the Supreme Court decision.
In addition, she said the court also had the discretion to grant the bail.
Maha had, on December 15, 2021, declined the bail request of ASPs Mohammed Yahaya, Abdullahi Adamu, and Abdullahi Usman, on the grounds that no bail application was filed before the court on their behalf. T
he judge had ordered that the three defendants be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre till the next hearing fixed for trial commencement.
All 15 defendants had earlier pleaded not guilty to the 18 charges, including forgery, criminal trespass, intimidation and extortion, among others, linked to their alleged raid of Odili’s home in Abuja on October 29, 2021.
Delivering the ruling, Maha ordered that the defendants must produce two sureties each.
She also directed that the two sureties for each of the defendants must be responsible citizens, and one of them must possess landed property in Abuja with a verified certificate of occupancy.
The Federal Government had through the Police produced the 15 suspects before Maha for arraignment on an 18-count charge bordering on forgery, criminal trespass, intimidation, extortion, among others, contrary to the sections of the law.
In the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/436/2021, they were also alleged to have threatened Mrs Odili and members of her household while trying to execute an illegal search warrant.
Although 22 defendants are charged in the case, seven of them are still at large.
Meanwhile, ASP, Madaki Chidawa, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Abuja, how he aborted the unlawful search of the Abuja residence of Mary Odili on October 19 last year.
ASP Chidawa was trstifying in the trial of 15 persons including a house wife accused of perpetrating the unlawful act at No, 7, Imo Rivers Street, Maitama, official residence of the apex court Justice.
The witness told Maha that the 15 defendants led by CSP Lawrence Ajodo, stormed the house in a fearful manner around 6 pm of October 19.
On arrival, the witness said that the defendants vehemently demanded to execute a search warrant on the house as a team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Assets recovery panel attached to the Federal Ministry of Justice.
He told the court that he demanded for the search warrant and upon going through, he discovered that the search warrant signed by a Chief Magistrate was addressed to No 9, Imo Crescent, Abuja.
ASP Chidawa explained that he used the wrong address on the search warrant to resist the execution of the warrant since the house of Odili is No 7, Imo Rivers Street.
The witness further informed the court that he subsequently ran to Odili who promptly made some phone calls that eventually nailed and aborted the unlawful mission of the defendants.
He said that upon realising that the mission had been aborted, CSP Lawrence Ajodo,who allegedly paraded a suspicious identity card of the Federal Ministry of Justice,then, threatened to deal with him when they would have come back with reinforcement,but that the defendants never returned.
Meanwhile, further trial has been adjourned to March 1, 2022 by Justice Maha.