In a significant development, the Abuja Federal High Court issued a one-week ultimatum to the Department of State Security Service (DSS) on Thursday, demanding that they either charge or release the detained suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
The order was delivered by Justice Hamza Muazu during a ruling on a fundamental human rights suit filed by Emefiele against the DSS and other parties. Justice Muazu acknowledged the constitutional authority of the DSS to make arrests, detain individuals, and combat internal crime. However, he emphasized that such actions must be carried out in accordance with the law.
The arrest of Godwin Emefiele by the DSS took place on June 10, shortly after President Bola Tinubu suspended him from his position as the governor of the apex bank and ordered an investigation into the CBN. Emefiele, through his lawyer Joseph Daudu (SAN), filed a suit before the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, alleging a violation of his human rights.
See Also: Breaking: CBN Governor, Emefiele Suspended by President Tinubu
The respondents in the suit include the Attorney General of the Federation, the Director General of the DSS, and the DSS itself, who have filed preliminary objections challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case and requesting its dismissal.
During the June 20 proceedings, the DSS, represented by its counsel I. Awo, argued that Emefiele’s detention was lawful, citing an order from an FCT Chief Magistrates’ Court allowing them to keep him in custody pending the conclusion of the investigation. The Attorney General of the Federation’s counsel, Tijjani Ghazali (SAN), maintained that the DSS’s actions were an administrative decision of the executive arm of the government and urged the court not to interfere.
Contrarily, Emefiele’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu, expressed disagreement with the arguments put forth by the DSS and the AGF, emphasizing the merit of the case.
Justice Muazu adjourned the proceedings until today to rule on the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case and consider Emefiele’s prayers.
The ultimatum issued by the high court places significant pressure on the DSS to either present formal charges against Godwin Emefiele or release him within the given timeframe. As the case unfolds, it remains to be seen how the court will decide on the jurisdictional matter and the potential violations of Emefiele’s human rights.
The outcome of this legal battle will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications, not only for Emefiele but also for the Nigerian financial system and the balance of power between government institutions.