The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday refused the bail application filed by a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Security, Minting and Printing Company (NSMPC), Chief Emmanuel Okoyomon, who was ordered by a Federal High Court to be extradited to the United Kingdom, UK, to face corruption charges, and also ordered him to remain in prison custody.
Okoyomon had approached the appellate court seeking to be granted bail while in the custody of Kuje Prison in Abuja, pending the determination of the appeal he filed against the May 4, 2015 judgment of Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court.
Delivering ruling in Okoyoo’s second bail application, Justice Mohammed Mustapha held that there was no circumstantial reasons to warrant the granting of bail to the applicant and dismissed the application for lacking in merit.
The appellate court held that the poor health ground canvassed by Okoyomon as reasons for applying for bail was not sufficient enough since it was the duty of the Nigeria Prison Service not only to keep a detainee but to also cater for his medical attention, including his feeding.
Justice Mustapha held that it was true that Okoyomon had been taken to Asokoro District Hospital twice but said that it was the duty of the prison to continue to do so instead of shifting the responsibility to the court.
“Being sick is never an excuse for bail because the prison is not only to keep detainees but to cater for their health and every detainee must be treated when ever such detainee is sick.
“Let me say here that court must not encourage the prison to derelict in its duties of providing medical care for inmates whenever the inmates are sick, except on special grounds where medical facilities to treat a special ailment is not available,” he said.
The Street Journal recalls that Okoyomon had earlier applied to the appellate court to admit him on bail on the ground that his health had been deteriorating and he had visited Asokoro Hospital twice this year for treatment, but the court had in June refused the application.
The UK had forwarded a request to the federal government for the extradition of Okoyomon to the country to face charges of bribery involving officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Mint and Security International Pty of Australia between 2006 and 2008.
The applicant had, however, objected to the extradition suit and urged the court to discountenance it on the ground that there was no extradition treaty between Nigeria and the UK to warrant such.
Justice Chukwu, the trial judge, had, however, held that there was an existing extradition treaty between UK and Nigeria, and ordered that Okoyomon be extradited to the UK within 30 days of the judgment.