FHC orders DSS to prosecute or release Emefiele
General Law / Crime

FHC orders DSS to prosecute or release Emefiele

From Our Correspondent in Abuja

A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has ordered the Department of State Services (DSS), to release suspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, from detention within seven days or charge him to court.

Delivering a judgement, on Thursday, Justice Hamza Muazu held that Emefiele’s continued detention without trial amounted to a gross violation of his fundamental human rights.

Consequently, the DSS, in a statement the same day, said it has charged Emefiele to court.

DSS Spokesman, Peter Afunanya, stated that the department has charged Emefiele in compliance with the court’s order.

“This was sequel to an Abuja court’s ultimatum to the DSS on Thursday to release Emefiele or charge him to court within one week,” Afunanya stated.

Muazu held that the Nigerian Constitution was founded on the rule of law which he said pre-supposed that everything must be done according to the law.

“Detention, no matter how small, can amount to a breach of fundamental rights,” the court held.

It added that since allegations against the suspended CBN governor contained bailable offences, the DSS ought to grant him administrative bail, pending his prosecution.

However, the court said evidence before it showed that an Abuja Chief Magistrate Court permitted the security agency to detain Emefiele for 14 days to enable it to conclude its investigations.

Justice Muazu held that Emefiele did not establish that his arrest, detention and investigation were unlawful since it was based on a valid court order.

Describing the DSS as a reputable institution mandated to guarantee internal security of the country, Justice Muazu, said it must conduct its operations with strict adherence to the provisions of the Constitution.

“I sympathise with the applicant (Emefiele).

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“Although my sentiment will not go far to deliver judgement by granting all the reliefs sought by him.

“The applicant has not shown that his arrest, detention and investigation were unlawful.

Emefiele, who has been in detention since June 9, had in his suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/6450/23, accused the DSS of violating his constitutional rights to liberty, freedom of movement and fair hearing.

In the DSS statement, Afunanya recalled that Emefiele was arrested and currently being prosecuted for suspected fresh criminal infractions.

However, he had earlier obtained a restraining order against the department.

“The public may recall that DSS, in 2022, applied for Court Order to detain him in respect of criminal investigation.

“Though he (Emefiele) obtained a restraining order from an FCT High Court, the Service, however, arrested him in June 2023.

“This is on the strength of suspected fresh criminal infractions/information, one of which forms the basis for his current prosecution,” the statement read.

The DSS assured the public of professionalism, justice and fairness in handling Emefiele’s case.


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