Save Edo State Judiciary
The Peoples Democratic Party Edo State Chapter wishes to draw the attention of the public to a strange and disturbing development in the on– going trial of Hon. Philip Shaibu, member of Edo State House of Assembly representing Etsako West constituency charged with forgery of tax clearance certificate by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) .
We recall that following his arraignment in court by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for the offence of forgery, Hon. Philip Shaibu was on the 30th June, 2014 granted bail by the High Court of Edo State presided over by Hon. Justice Esther Edigin in the sum of N3,000,000.00 (Three million naira) and one surety in like sum. It was expressly stated that the Surety should be a property owner and resident in Benin whose title documents to landed property used for perfection of the conditions of bail should be deposited with the court. Both the Surety and the accused person, Hon Philip Shaibu were ordered to deposit their passport photographs with the court.
We find it curious and most disturbing that without fulfilling the conditions of bail granted by the court, Hon Philip Shaibu was released by the court. The trial Judge herself confirmed the above development during the proceedings of court held on the 6th November, 2014 when she openly complained that the accused person was embarrassing the court by not fulfilling the conditions of his bail. This was a clear confirmation that between the 30th June, 2014 and the 6th November, 2014 when the Judge made her open complaint in the court, Hon Philip Shaibu was illegally released on bail even when he had not met the bail conditions.
We note that all persons are equal before the law and it is only in Edo State that an accused person facing a criminal trial in court would be released on bail without fulfilment of the mandatory bail conditions, thereby undermining the provisions of section 17(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which guarantees equality of rights, obligations and opportunities of all citizens in Nigeria.
We are compelled to call on all concerned on the need to preserve and save Edo State Judiciary.
Chris Osa Nehikhare
PDP Edo State.
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