An Abuja Federal High Court on Friday granted bail to former Adamawa Governor, Murtala Nyako, his son, Senator Abdulazeez Nyako, and two others, charged with N40 billion fraud by EFCC.
The accused were arraigned by the anti-graft agency on Wednesday and remanded in its custody, pending the hearing of their bail application filed by their counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN).
The trial judge, Justice Evoh Chukwu, while delivering ruling after hearing arguments from defence counsel Agabi and EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacob (SAN), granted the four accused bail in the sum of N350 million each.
Chukwu also ordered that each accused person must provide two sureties or alternatively, one surety who must be a director in any Federal Government establishment.
He also held that each surety must own a landed property in Abuja and must provide evidence of ownership of the property, which must also be verified by the court bailiff.
The judge also ordered that the sureties must swear to an affidavit of means, submit their two passport photographs and tax clearance certificates in the last three years to the court.
Justice Chukwu further ordered that Nyako and co-accused must immediately surrender and deposit their international passports to the court’s Registrar.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Agabi urged the court to admit the accused to bail during Friday’s sitting, slated for the hearing and ruling on the bail application.
Agabi conceded that the granting of bail to his clients was at the discretion of the court, noting that the accused persons were presumed innocent under the law until proven otherwise.
He submitted that given the calibre of personalities of the accused and the team of 15 lawyers engaged by them to prove their innocence, they should be granted bail even on self-recognition.
“My Lord, they have been on administrative bail from the EFCC; a former governor, former Chief of Naval Staff and his son, who is a serving Senator, have no hiding place,’’ Agabi argued.
Responding, however, EFCC counsel who first objected the bail application, conceded to the fact that granting an accused bail was at the court’s discretion but urged the court to exercise it with caution.
He contended that the weight of evidence against the accused was overwhelming and that the gravity of the charge was serious that they may be tempted to jump bail if granted.
The prosecution counsel further argued that EFCC once declared the Nyakos wanted and they only returned to the country recently, and so were likely to run away again if granted bail.
He said “they stole Adamawa State money running into billions of naira which they converted into private accounts and moved same to Abuja, where they used it to build private estates.’’
Meanwhile, Justice Chukwu had adjourned the case until Sept. 30 for trial.