Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has been accused of being involved in terrorism and other offenses, but a Federal Capital Territory High Court has prohibited the Department of State Services and the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, from arresting and detaining him.
The court has also limited the time allotted to the respondents and the applicant during the proceeding and ordered a speedy hearing.
The Attorney General of the Federation AGF, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, and the Central Bank of Nigeria, who are designated as the first, second, and fifth defendants, are also restrained by the court order.
The verdict was given by Justice MA Hassan in the case GAR/CV/41/2022, which was brought by the Incorporated Trustees of Forum for Accountability and Good Leadership.
In the lawsuit, which was filed on December 19, the petitioner asked the court for, among other things, 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.
Upon hearing of counsels Justice M.A Hassan ruled that “it is further ordered that the 4th Respondent, 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 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.
The DSS had in an exparte application with reference no: FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022, sought an order to arrest the CBN Governor over alleged acts of financing terrorism, fraudulent activities and economic crimes of national security dimension.”
The DSS was said to have filed a suit on December 7, 2022, seeking to arrest the CBN governor.
Recall that on December 9, 2022, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice J.T Tsoho, had also declined to grant the application for Emefiele’s arrest.
The suit, FHC/Abj/CS/2255/2022, had State Security Services as the applicant.
Refusing to grant the application, the judge had said, “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 the 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.”
Justice Hassan held that Exhibit A, submitted by the 4th respondent (DSS), which was the Affidavit also submitted to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice JohnTsoho, did not substantiate any material fact of terrorism and that the 4th respondent’s acts are obvious attempts to interfere with the rights of Godwin Emefiele
The EFCC in its counter affidavit stated that Emefiele is not under investigation by the Commission and it has no case against him. The anti-graft agency asked the court to discharge it from the matter on the ground.