The Department of State Services (DSS) has vowed to arrest Nigeria’s Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele upon his return to the country despite a court order restraining the secret police from doing so, SaharaReporters reported on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Emefiele has refused to return to Nigeria from the United States of America amid allegations of fraud and terrorism financing.
The DSS or State Security Service (SSS) has accused the CBN governor of being 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.
But a Federal High Court in Maitama, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja last Thursday issued an order restraining the DSS from arresting, detaining or questioning Emefiele.
However, sources in the DSS told SaharaReporters that they are aware that Emefiele deliberately decided to delay his return to Nigeria. They, however, noted that the secret police would arrest the apex bank governor regardless of his antics and the recent court ruling.
“Emefiele has so far refused to return to Nigeria. But the position of the DSS has not changed.
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“He will be arrested upon his arrival in Nigeria because what our preliminary investigation reveals against him are very serious and cannot be taken lightly,” one of the sources said.
On December 31, 2022, a report published by the media citing Peoples Gazette said the Central Bank governor may have concluded plans to return to the United Kingdom over developing threats of arrest by the DSS amid the seeming reluctance by the Presidency to wade into the matter.
“Since it is now looking impossible for him to return to Nigeria, the next move is to file for asylum in the UK,” a source told Peoples Gazette. “The UK is his first option for asylum, but he has not ruled out the United States, either.”
Emefiele was said to be in the US as of the morning of Friday, December 30, 2022. It was unclear when he planned to return to the UK, but his strong family ties to Britain were said to be behind his decision to pursue asylum there.
The ruling delivered by Justice M.A. Hassan last week barring his arrest, detention and questioning by the DSS also applies to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the CBN, who are listed as defendants.
The court declared that the “continuous harassments, intimidation, threats, restriction of free movement, abuse of 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 is vindictive, unwarranted, abrasive, oppressive and same constitute a flagrant breach of his rights to personal liberty, dignity of human person, 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”.
It also declared that “in view of the Ruling of the Honourable Justice Tsoho sitting at the Federal High Court Maitama, in State Security Services (SSS) v Mr. Godwin Emefiele Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022 delivered on 15th December, 2022 any continuous harassments, intimidation, threats, restriction of free movement, abuse of 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 is vindictive, unwarranted, abrasive, oppressive…”
The court further declared that “any form of invitation to Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria in the exercise of his statutory powers, functions and duties and continuous threats by the 4th Respondents to surrender his powers to them over trumped-up allegations of terrorism financing and fraudulent practices, etc constitute a flagrant breach of his rights to personal liberty, dignity of human person, 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.
“That the 4th Respondent acted wrongfully and illegally in instigating the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against Mr. Godwin Emefiele in respect of the exercise of his statutory duty relating to the issuance of monetary policies and directives in the interest of National security and economy.
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“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 Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank Governor 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,” it noted among other declarations.
It, however, gave no order as to cost.
Hotmedia.ng had reported how a Federal High Court in Abuja earlier declined an application by the DSS to arrest and detain Emefiele.
Nigerian High Court Declines Application By Secret Police, DSS To Arrest Central Bank Gov, Emefiele Over Terrorism Financing Allegation
Dec 19, 2022
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.
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 was Mamman Daura, a nephew and close confidant of the President, multiple sources had told SaharaReporters.