Court grants Navy captain N10m bail

Robert Egbe

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday granted N10m bail to a naval captain, Dada Labinjo, who was allegedly detained by the Navy for one year and three months without trial.

Labinjo, who has been in the custody of the Nigerian Navy since September 2018, was allegedly kept in an underground cell.

He was brought before Justice Muslim Hassan by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to whom the Navy transferred him to on Monday.

The defendants and two others were arraigned on two counts of dealing in petroleum products without lawful authority.

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Among the other defendants was Labinjo’s wife, Bola Labinjo, a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told the court that the defendants conspired between August and October 2018 to deal in Automobile Gas Oil (diesel), without the appropriate licence.

According to the EFCC counsel Oluwakemi Yemi-Makinde, the defendants committed the offence “within the Nigerian maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea.”

The prosecutor said they acted contrary to sections 3(6) and 1((19)(a)(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Revised Edition) 2004, and were liable to be punished under Section 1(17) of the same Act.

The defendants pleaded not guilty.

In a bench ruling, Justice Hassan admitted Labinjo to bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety who must own a landed property in Lagos and must show evidence of three-year tax payment.

The judge also released Labinjo to his lawyer, Jerry Omoregie, pending when he would meet the bail conditions within 15 days.

The lawyer was directed to submit his Certificate of Call to Bar to the court’s registrar as a guarantee that he would produce his client for trial.

He granted the other defendants bail in terms similar to Labinjo’s.

The case continues on February 5.

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