The vacation judge at the High Court of the Federal Capital territory (FCT), Maitama, Abuja, Justice Yusuf Halilu, on Thursday granted bail to former Jigawa State Governor, Ibrahim Saminu Turaki.
Turaki was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja on July 4.
According to the EFCC, Turaki, whose 32-count charge of fraud was pending before the Federal High Court in Jigawa State, jumped bail about six years ago, but was rearrested at a function in Abuja through intelligent sources.
Justice Halilu ruled on a bail application filed by Turaki after taking arguments from his lawyer, Olukayode Jolaawu and Mohammed Abubakar for the EFCC.
Although the judge frowned at Turaki’s conduct of jumping bail, he said the constitution allows bail for a person suspected to have committed an offence, but presumed innocent until his/her guilt was established.
Justice Halilu said: “Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered, presumed an accused person, suspected to have committed an offence, innocent until his guilt is established before a court of law.
“The arrest and detention of the applicant, I must observe, was pursuant to my brother’s order of the Federal High Court, which was made after the applicant (Turaki) refused to show up at the Federal High Court, Jigawa, to stand trial.
“Permit me to observe that laws must be respected, and obediently so. The question I ask now is, why has the applicant chosen to come and drink from the pot of equity in this court? Was it not the same court he refused to attend?
“Counsel representing people charged for commission of offences must learn to frown at the conduct of such people, if not, it will spell doom and a very huge danger to our dear country, Nigeria. It is our country and the laws are meant to regulate our conduct.
“If morality cannot be regulated, then behaviour can be regulated. The law may not change the heart, but it can regulate the heartless. Bail is fundamental with human rights. It usually shall be granted on terms.”
He granted bail to Turaki and ordered him to deposit all his travel documents with the court registrar.
The judge said the ex-governor must provide two sureties, who must be responsible residents of the FCT, with verifiable means of livelihood.