A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has stopped an application by the Department of State Services to arrest and detain the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, over allegations bothering on “acts of financing terrorism, fraudulent activities and economic crimes of national security dimension.”
The DSS had reportedly filed a suit on December 7, 2022, seeking to arrest the CBN governor. Justice J.T Tsoho gave the ruling declining to grant the application for the governor’s arrest on December 9, 2022.
The suit, with reference number FHC/Abj/CS/2255/2022, had State Security Services as the applicant.
Refusing to grant the DSS request, the judge 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.”
“The honourable judge also wondered why the name of the respondent was given simply as ‘Godwin Emefiele’ without a material disclosure that he is the same person as the CBN governor, a highly ranking public official who occupies an extremely sensitive position,”.
The court said such an application should have been accompanied by presidential approval because of the grave implications for the Nigerian economy if the CBN governor is arrested and detained.
There are suggestions that the bid to arrest Emefiele might be political given the impact the redesign of the naira and limit on cash withdrawals might have on vote-buying in the 2023 elections.
A number of politicians have complained that the naira redesign is targeted at them but President Muhammadu Buhari has given his full backing to Emefiele over the policy.
On Monday, a group of Civil Society Organisations raised the alarm that there was a plot to frame Emefiele for terrorism and remove him from office.
A coalition of human rights activists, the Arewa Youth Consultative Movement and public interest lawyers, operating under the aegis of the Coalition of National Interest Defenders, on Monday expressed concern over a plot by the Department of State Service to move the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele for allegedly financing terrorism.
They claimed the plan to sack the CBN governor was orchestrated by politicians who were not comfortable with the economic reform policy of the apex bank, especially the designation of the naira.
Meanwhile, reacting, the Department of State Services (DSS) stated that it would not join issues with those protesting the suit filed against the CBN governor, saying they were on a wild goose chase.
In a release signed by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, the agency maintained that it remains focused and unbiased and does not succumb to propaganda, intimidation and the desperation of hirelings to undermine it.
“While professionally discharging its mandate, the DSS pledges to. It will also not give room to the use of falsehood and deceit to misdirect public understanding and perceptions of issues of national importance.
The service warned those on a wild goose chase to be mindful of their actions. Similarly, it urges members of the public to disregard the vituperations and rantings of misguided elements and not allow themselves to be used as instruments of destabilisation.”
The statement reads: “The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to clarify that one of its roles is the investigation of matters of national security dimension. It has always discharged this responsibility in the overall interest of Nigerian citizens. As such, the Service will continue to disseminate actionable intelligence to the relevant authorities devoid of any sentiment.
“While professionally discharging its mandate, the DSS pledges to remain focused and unbiased. It will not, by any means, succumb to propaganda, intimidation and the desperation of hirelings to undermine it. It will also not give room to the use of falsehood and deceit to misdirect public understanding and perceptions of issues of national importance.
“Given not to join issues, the Service warns those on a wild goose chase to be mindful of their actions.
“Similarly, it urges members of the public to disregard the vituperations and rantings of misguided elements and not allow themselves to be used as instruments of destabilisation.
Notably, these elements should remember the famous axiom that “you will only deceive some people, some of the time, but not all people, all the time”.
“ To put it succinctly, the Service will not be distracted by persons and/or groups from carrying out its duties to the Nation, citizens, President and Commander-in-Chief.
“Citizens are, therefore, urged to avoid being used to thwart or undermine the Service and its lawful investigations as those who wish to act in the breach will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”