From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court on Monday, granted bail to three out of the remaining 15 suspects who allegedly invaded the residence of the Supreme Court judge, Mary Odili.
Justice Nkeonye Maha admitted them to a N5 million bail each, after the prosecution counsel, Matthew Omosun did not opposed to their bail applications.
Maha also ruled that the second surety must be gainfully employed in Abuja, having paid his or her tax dues for three years.
She said the documents of the landed property should be submitted to the registry of the court.
The judge, who ordered that the defendants must submit their passports to the registry, 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, this 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.
Justice Maha had on December 15, 2021, declined the bail request of an Assistant Superintendent of police, Mohammed Yahaya; Abdullahi Adamu; and Abdullahi Usman, on the grounds that no bail application was filed before the court on their behalf.
The 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 18 charges, including forgery, criminal trespass, intimidation, extortion, among others, linked to their alleged invasion of Odili’s home in Abuja on October 29, 2021.
Delivering the ruling, Justice Maha ordered that the defendants must produce two sureties each.
The judge also directed that the two sureties for each of the defendants must be responsible citizens, and one of them must possess a landed property in Abuja with a verified certificate of occupancy.
The Federal Government had through the Nigerian Police Force, 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 were still at large.