A convicted former Governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame, who was, in May, jailed for 14 years on corruption charges, has approached the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja, which handed down the guilty verdict, to release him on bail pending the determination of his appeal against his conviction.
He said he needed the bail in order to have access to his traditional herbal medicine, which he said he used to treat hypertension and diabetes before his conviction on May 30, 2018.
His lawyer, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, while arguing the bail application before Justice Adebukola Banjoko who passed the guilty judgment against the ex-governor, said his client had been living with the health conditions for 10 years.
Ojo argued the application, which was opposed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission during the Wednesday’s proceedings attended by a handful of the convict’s supporters.
The convict himself was not produced by prison officials in court.
Ojo, in arguing the application, referred to a June 19, 2018 medical report issued by a Jalingo, Taraba State hospital, suggesting that the convict could die if not released from prison.
He said his client had sought permission from the prison authorities in Kuje, Abuja, to be allowed to be given herbal medicine, but the request was rebuffed.
He said, “These exhibits are medical reports attached to the affidavit in support of the application and also the request, the letter, written to seek permission to be given traditional herbal preparation that can sustain him.
“The prison authorities did not allow his people to give him the herbal medicine.
“Whatever that must have been responsible for the prison authorities’ decision whether right or wrong, the point is that he has not been allowed.”
He told the trial judge that ill health and the need to access herbal medicine had been recognised as constituting “special and exceptional circumstances” that could warrant granting bail after conviction.
EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), has urged the court to dismiss the application.
Jacobs, who argued that the convict failed to support his request with any material, said, “mere medical allegation will not be sufficient to grant bail after conviction.”
He said Nyame, as a convict, had lost the right of medical facility of his choice but the one provided him by the prison.
He added, “The health ground will be an exceptional circumstance if the prison authorities say they are unable to provide the medical need of the convict.
“The second issue is that there must be a medical report by a medical practitioner who specialises in the area of medicine that concerns the ailment of the convict.
“Has the medical report been provided? There is no such report by a medical practitioner that specialises in hypertension and diabetes.”
Justice Banjoko has receded to her chambers to prepare her ruling, which she is to deliver later on Wednesday (today).
Justice Banjoko had also jailed a former Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, for 14 years on corruption charges barely two weeks after handing down the guilty verdict to Nyame.