Nigerian High Court Restrains Secret Police, DSS, Others From Arresting Central Bank Governor, Emefiele

A Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja has issued an order restraining secret police, the Department of State Services (DSS) from arresting Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This ruling, delivered by Justice M.A. Hassan on Thursday, also applies to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Attorney-General of The Federation (AGF), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the CBN, who are listed as defendants.

SaharaReporters had reported how a Federal High Court in Abuja declined an application by the DSS to arrest and detain Emefiele.

The DSS or State Security Service (SSS) had accused Emefiele of allegedly aiding and abetting acts of terrorism.

The security agency said the CBN governor is involved in the financing of terrorism.

It said preliminary investigation revealed various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities perpetrated by Emefiele and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension.

In declining the motion ex parte filed by the secret police, Justice J. T. Tsoho, the Chief Judge, said the DSS did not provide any concrete evidence to substantiate its claims that Emefiele was involved in terrorism financing and economic crimes.

The ruling read, “Upon perusal of the documents that constitute the Applicant’s Motion Ex parte dated and filed on 7/12/2022, I am constrained to make the following vital observations:

“1. The entire affidavit depositions, especially as per paragraph 4 of the supporting affidavit, purport that preliminary investigation has revealed various acts of Terrorism Financing, fraudulent activities perpetrated by the Respondent and his Involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension. These are no doubt, grave allegations, but which the Applicant has not presented any concrete evidence to support.

“The Applicant should have taken the Court into confidence, while seeking the exercise of its discretion in favour of granting Its application. It is my respectful opinion that the ipse dixit of the Applicant standing on its own, is not sufficient evidence upon which to deprive a person of his liberty.

“2. The Respondent in this application is named as “Godwin Emefiele” without disclosure of his status or position anywhere; not even In the affidavit. It is left to speculation if the “Godwin Emefiele” is the same person as the serving Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. If it is, then he is unarguably a high ranking Public Official In Nigeria and Indeed occupies a sensitive position as one of the key drivers of the Nation’s Economy. Therefore, an application of this kind should have evidence of the approval of the Respondent’s boss, that such measures are authorised to be taken. I however do not find such evidence in this Instant application, whereas it is a necessary procedure in the observance of the Rule of Law disclosed in the supporting affidavit.

“This is not the situation here, as Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor was shown on Television, even last night, having audience with the President of Nigeria. It therefore seems that the Applicant Intends to use the Court, as a cover for an irregular procedure, which is unacceptable.

“In the light of the foregoing reasons, I decline to grant this application Ex parte. If the Applicant believes that the evidence available to it so far is sufficient, then it can as well arrest and detain the Applicant, even without the Order of this Court. If however the Applicant desires to still pursue this application, then It should place the Respondent on Notice, considering the sensitive Public Office that he occupies.”

SaharaReporters had also reported that President Muhammadu Buhari was under pressure from some of his associates to prevent the arrest of Emefiele by the secret police.

Leading the campaign is Mamman Daura, a nephew and close confidant of the President, multiple sources told SaharaReporters on Tuesday.