According to reports, former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), who has been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission since February 8, 2016, has urged the Federal High Court in Abuja to grant him bail on health grounds.
Badeh is still being held in the custody of the EFCC in Lagos over ongoing investigation into his roles in an alleged N4.4bn fraud involving the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
Justice James Tsoho fixed March 4 for ruling on the bail application after entertaining arguments by Badeh’s lawyer and the objection by the EFCC on Monday.
Badeh’s lawyer, Mr. Samuel Zibiri (SAN), who filed the bail application, dated February 15, said though the EFCC had granted his client bail, the ex-CDS could not meet it because of the “onerous conditions” attached to it.
He said his client was recovering from a recent surgery and also had a history of kidney stone.
He predicated the application on Section 35(4) and Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution and sections 158, 162 and 165(1) (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
Zibiri urged the court to grant bail to his client on self recognizance or on such favourable and liberal terms as the court might deem fit to make.
He urged the court to grant him bail pending the completion of investigation by the EFCC and/or arraignment before this court.
His lawyer maintained that the alleged case of fraud, for which his client was invited, was bailable.
He added, “There is no reason for, or any likelihood that the applicant will jump bail, escape from Justice, interfere with witnesses or investigation if same is still ongoing, or the course of justice upon being granted bail.
“The applicant has no criminal antecedent or records. The applicant, owing to his status in the society, can be granted bail on self recognizance or in the most liberal of terms, as he will be available to attend any invitation by the respondents at all times.
“That the applicant’s health condition is bad and he recently had surgery on his spine which requires constant post-operative follow-up by his physician as well as renal condition, which he is currently undergoing treatment for.”
In an affidavit in support of the bail application, deposed to by one Emeka Okoroafor, the deponent stated, “That three days after the applicant was detained, the respondent issued an internal memo dated February 10, on the most onerous and unrealistic bail terms.
“That upon receiving the bail condition, all efforts were made to satisfy same by the family and friends of the applicant, who could not satisfy same due to its onerous and unreasonable terms whereupon he, Mr Zibiri, SAN, wrote a letter for a review of the bail condition for the applicant.
“That the respondent has refused, neglected and ignored the said appeal and has continued to detain the applicant indefinitely.
“That he is currently recovering from a recent surgery on his spinal cord for Lumbo-sacral spondylosis and currently on medication. He also has a history of renal lithiasis (Kidney stones).”
In arguing his application, Zibiri said Badeh’s detention by virtue of a remand order issued by a Magistrate’s Court in Lagos “is a gross abuse of the ACJA 2015”, insisting he should be granted bail because a Federal High Court is superior to the magistrate court.”
EFCC’s lawyer, Cosmas Ugwu, in opposing the application, told the court that Badeh had not made any effort to fulfil the administrative bail granted him by the EFCC in Lagos.
“He is in custody in Lagos; Abuja is not holding him; so, the convenient court to grant the applicant bail is a court within the same territorial jurisdiction,” Ugwu argued.
The EFCC lawyer also informed the court that Badeh was being held under a remand order issued by a Lagos magistrate court because he was fingered in the alleged NIMASA fraud scandal.