Godwin Emefiele’s Rollercoaster Ride


🗞️Abuja High Court Declares Arrest and Detention of Suspended CBN Governor Void, Orders Immediate Release

Abuja, Nigeria – In a recent ruling, the Abuja High Court declared the arrest and detention of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, by the Department of State Services (DSS) as void and ordered his immediate release. The court deemed the actions of the DSS to be in violation of a previous judgment and orders issued by Justice M.A. Hassan.

Emefiele’s counsel argued that the arrest and detention were illegal and null and void, citing a previous court judgment. The court not only set aside any warrant of arrest obtained by the DSS but also issued an injunction restraining them from interfering with Emefiele’s personal liberty and freedom of movement.

Responding to the court’s ruling, the DSS stated that Emefiele had been charged to court and clarified that they had initially sought a court order to detain him but were halted by another court order. The DSS alleged that Emefiele was arrested due to alleged criminal infractions for which he is currently being prosecuted. They assured the public of professionalism and fairness in handling the matter within the confines of the law.

The backdrop of this legal battle can be traced back to a ruling last year by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Garki, Abuja, which prohibited the DSS from arresting and detaining Emefiele based on charges of terrorism financing and economic crimes. The court granted an order of perpetual injunction against the DSS, safeguarding Emefiele’s rights to personal liberty and dignity. The ruling also emphasized the protection of Emefiele’s policy-making powers and prevented any harassment or interference with his duties by the DSS.

However, events took a different turn in January this year when DSS operatives invaded and took over the office of Governor Emefiele at the CBN headquarters while he was on annual leave abroad. The exact circumstances surrounding this invasion remain unclear.

The ongoing legal battle intensified after the conclusion of the 2023 elections, in which President Bola Tinubu emerged as the winner. Shortly after assuming office, President Tinubu suspended Godwin Emefiele from his position as CBN Governor with immediate effect. Emefiele was directed to hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), Mr. Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, pending the completion of an investigation and subsequent reforms.

In early June, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation directed Emefiele to immediately hand over his office to the Deputy Governor, indicating that an investigation was underway. Unconfirmed reports of Emefiele’s arrest by the DSS surfaced, but the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunaya, refrained from confirming the arrest.

An anonymous security source disclosed that there were prior plans to arrest Emefiele during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. However, the source claimed that Emefiele was protected by the Buhari administration, preventing his arrest. The source further revealed that Emefiele had unanswered questions and would not be allowed to leave the country. It was earlier in January 2023 that Emefiele faced an attempted arrest on charges of terrorism financing and economic crimes.

In response to recent reports, the DSS stated that Emefiele had been charged to court in compliance with the order issued by the FCT High Court in June 2022. The DSS maintained that Emefiele had obtained a restraining order from the FCT High Court but had been arrested in June 2023 based on suspected fresh criminal infractions that form the basis of his current prosecution.

With the latest ruling by the Abuja High Court, the legal battle surrounding the arrest and detention of Godwin Emefiele continues to unfold, raising questions about the independence of the CBN and the limits of executive power in Nigeria.

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