Human rights lawyers, civil society groups, among others, have protested in defense of governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over alleged plot kick him out of office.
Specifically, they raised the alarm over alleged plot by the Department of State Service (DSS) to frame up Emefiele with terrorism sponsorship against Nigeria.
The group operating under the auspices of Coalition of National Interest Defenders alleged that to achieve the aim of getting Emefiele arrested, the DSS has secretly instituted a court action against him at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Describing the alleged action of the DSS as a strange development in the history of the country, the group demanded immediate sack of director general of the DSS to prevent him from setting the country ablaze.
Addressing a joint world press conference on Monday in Abuja, convener of the Coalition, Tochukwu Ohazuruike, said the security agency filed a motion in court accusing the CBN governor of terrorism financing and other crimes it described as economic crimes of national security dimension.
The group also accused the DSS of not informing President Muhammadu Buhari of the investigative report which showed them that Emefiele was a terrorist.
The group faulted the agency for allowing Emefiele to travel out of the country with the President and have unrestricted access to the President.
Challenging the veracity of the claims by the DSS, the coalition said if truly the DG DSS believed his claims, he would not have allowed Emefiele anywhere near the president.
He added that by allowing Emefiele travel with the president, it showed the DG DSS did not believe Emefiele was a terrorist, meaning that the claims of the DSS in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022 between State Security Service and Godwin Emefiele was made with the sole purpose of forcefully and wrongfully removing the CBN governor from office.
The coalition called on President Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to immediately suspend, arrest, investigate and prosecute the DG DSS, Bichi.
We Won’t Be Intimidated By Any Protest – DSS
Meanwhile, the DSS has said it remains focused on its mandate and no amount of protest and intimidation can stop it from carrying out their duties.
The secret police was reacting to the protest by the human rights lawyers and civil groups over alleged plot by the DSS to frame up Emefiele with terrorism sponsorship against Nigeria.
Spokesperson of the DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, who did not state clearly if there were suits filed against the CBN governor, said, “The Department of State Services 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.”
DSS Loses Bid To Obtain Remand Order Against CBN Governor
Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has refused to grant an expert application filed by the Department of State Services seeking a court’s backing to detain the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over allegations of terrorism financing.
Justice Tsoho, in a ruling delivered on December 13 and obtained by our correspondent on Monday, held that the DSS failed to put before him enough evidence to support its claim against Emefiele.
The judge also lambasted the secret service for trying to obtain the order through the Backdoor by trying to conceal the true identity of the apex bank boss.
The court held, “the entire affidavit depositions purport that preliminary investigation has revealed various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities perpetrated by the Respondent and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension, these are no doubt, grave allegations, but which the Applicant has not presented any concrete evidence to support.
“The Applicant should have taken the Court into confidence while seeking the exercise of its discretion in favour of granting its application. It is my respectful opinion that the Ipse Dixit of the Applicant standing on its own is not sufficient evidence upon which to deprive a person of his liberty.
“The Respondent in this application is named “Godwin Emefiele” without disclosure of his status or position anywhere; not even in the affidavit.
“It Is left to speculate if “Godwin Emefiele” is the same person as the serving Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. If it Is, then he is unarguably a high-ranking Public Official in Nigeria and Indeed occupies a sensitive position as one of the key drivers of the Nation’s Economy.
“Therefore, an application of this kind should have evidence of the approval of the Respondent’s boss, that such measures are authorised to be taken.
“I, however, do not find such evidence of this instant application, whereas it is a necessary procedure In the observance of the Rule of Law.
“It is noted that It has been the practice of the Applicant to seek detention of a Respondent or further detention, for a definite period, when such Respondent is already arrested and Is in their custody and that fact Is disclosed In the supporting affidavit.
“This is not the situation here, Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor was shown on Television, even last night, having an audience with the President of Nigeria. It, therefore seems that the Applicant Intends to use the Court, as a cover for an irregular procedure, which is unacceptable.
“In the fight 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 this 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. This application as presently constituted is refused,” the judge ruled.