Nigerian court orders release or bail hearing for ex-central bank head

ABUJA (Reuters) – A Nigerian court on Monday ordered that former central bank governor Godwin Emefiele, who has been in detention for three months, be unconditionally released or that the government produce him in court on Wednesday for a bail hearing.

Emefiele has been in detention since June 10, charged with procurement fraud, but his trial has stalled since August when the Department of State Services failed to present him in court to enter a plea.

The former central bank chief was not present in court for his bail hearing on Monday prompting Judge Olukayode Adeniyi to demand that the Attorney General of the Federation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) release him or bring him to court in two days.

Emefiele was initially detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) but the EFCC, a government anti-corruption agency, said on Monday he had now been in their custody for a week.

Emefiele, who has not commented publicly on the case, was suspended by President Bola Tinubu on June 9 and was arrested a day later by the DSS.

He resigned in August, paving the way for the appointment of new central bank governor Olayemi Cardoso in September.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Editing by Alison Williams)