A federal high court sitting in Abuja has declined an application by the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest and detain Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), TheCable is reporting.
In declining the motion ex parte — filed by an applicant in the absence of the respondent — Justice JT Tsoho, the chief judge, said the secret police did not provide any concrete evidence to substantiate its claims that Emefiele was involved in terrorism financing and economic crimes.
The judge said he should have been taken into confidence if there was any evidence to back the allegations in the application, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022.
“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 with the 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.
Meanwhile, DSS has warned Nigerians against being used to “undermine” its investigations.
In a statement issued on Monday, Peter Afunanya, DSS spokesperson, said the service will not be distracted by those seeking to use “propaganda” to undermine its lawful investigations.
Afunanya said one of the duties of the DSS 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,” the statement reads.
“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, and, President and Commander-in-Chief.”
Afunanya asked Nigerians 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”.