Embattled Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigerian Governor cannot be arrested by the Department of State Services, DSS. At least for now.
The reprieve for the apex bank governor came from an Abuja High court, few days after the DSS made a secret move to arrest him. The magazine reported a secret suit filed by the DSS to arrest Emefiele, which was turned down by the court.
The DSS had accused the CBN governor of economic sabotage and terrorism financing, and plotted to arrest him after his return from a trip with President Muhammadu Buhari.
But the High court in the nation’s capital has now barred the DSS, the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, from arresting and detaining Emefiele.
Justice MA Hassan who gave the order also restrained the Attorney-General of the Federation AGF, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, who are listed as defendants in the suit, from arresting the CBN Governor.
Justice Hassan ruled that the DSS “their agents, servants, privies and all officers under their control and command are hereby restrained from instigating the arrest or arresting, interrogating and detaining the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, in respect of any matter or policy decision on the economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or for any connected purposes except by an order of a Superior Court.”
The judge made the order while delivering judgment in a suit marked GAR/CV/41/2022, filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Forum for Accountability and Good Leadership.
In the suit, tendered on 19 December, the applicant among other reliefs prayed to the Court for the following:
A declaration that the continuous harassment, intimidation, threats, restriction of free movement, abuse of the right of Office, surreptitious moves to arrest, and humiliation of Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria over trumped-up allegations of terrorism financing and fraudulent practices, etc by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents and their officers are vindictive, unwarranted, abrasive, oppressive and same constitute a flagrant breach of his rights to personal liberty, the dignity of the human rights; right to policy-making powers freedom of thought, conscience and religion and movement as respectively provided and enshrined under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act AND, therefore, unconstitutional and illegal.
The court also granted an order of substituted service on the 5th defendant/respondent the CBN by delivering the originating summons and other processes to the legal department of the bank, at its Headquarters in Abuja.
On December 7, the DSS tried to arrest the CBN governor by filing a suit at a federal high court. However, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice J.T Tsoho, who ruled on the matter declining to grant the application for the governor’s arrest two days later.
He said the DSS did not show sufficient evidence to him to grant the exparte motion seeking to arrest Emefiele.