Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja has remanded Robert Azibaola, a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, in Kuje prison, Abuja.
The judge gave the order yesterday shortly after Azibaola, his wife, Stella and their firm, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited were arraigned on a seven-count charge of money laundering.
They were accused of, among others, unlawfully receiving about $40million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them by an official of the court.
The couple stood quietly in the dock while the female court official read the charge to them. At a point, the judge instructed that chairs be provided for them to sit. They later sat close to each other for the other part of the proceedings that lasted about three hours.
The judge took arguments from parties on the bail applications filed for Azibaola and his wife and adjourned to today for ruling, but ordered that pending the ruling, the husband be remanded in prison, while he allowed the wife to remain on the administrative bail earlier granted her by the complainant, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
While moving the applications for bail, defence lawyers, Chris Uche and Goddy Uche (both Senior Advocates of Nigeria) argued that the offences with which their clients were charged were “ordinarily bailable.”
They told the court that both husband and wife were sick and needed time to be allowed to attend to their health conditions.
Lawyer to the husband, Chris said his client had been unlawfully held in the custody of the complainant since March 23 this year.
He said Azibaola’s constitutionally guaranteed right to personal liberty has been violated by the complainant, who allegedly held the him in unlawful custody.
He urged the court to grant him bail on liberal term to enable him attend court for trial.
Lawyer to the wife, Goddy, noted that his client had remained faithful to the terms of the administrative bail granted her, before yesterday, by the EFCC.
He said Mrs. Azibaola was not only a mother of young children, who require care, she was also indisposed and needed to attend to her health.
Prosecution lawyer, Aliyu Yussuf objected to the defendants’ bail application and urged the court to refuse them.
He noted that the offences with which the defendants were charged were serious, and attract between seven to 14 years jail term on conviction.
Justice Dimgba adjourned to today for ruling after listening to arguments by lawyers to parties.