Charge Emefiele Within One Week Or Release Him, Court Orders DSS

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Charge Emefiele Within One Week Or Release Him, Court Orders DSS

A federal capital territory high court has ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to charge Godwin Emefiele, suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to court if they have criminal allegations against him.

Hamza Muazu, the presiding judge, said the former CBN governor should be released on bail if he is not taken to a competent court within one week.

On June 9, President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele and asked him to transfer his responsibilities to Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, deputy governor, operations directorate.

The day after, the DSS announced that Emefiele was in its custody for “some investigative reasons”.

Through his lawyer, Joseph Daudu, Emefiele filed a suit against the DSS and the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), seeking an enforcement of his fundamental human rights.

ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION OF THE EXECUTIVE

Tijjani Ghazali, counsel to the AGF, informed the court that the first respondent is challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case brought before it by the applicant.

He said Emefiele’s arrest and detention by the DSS is an administrative decision of an arm of the executive.

The DSS also challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit, insisting that there is a subsisting order of a chief magistrate court for Emefiele’s detention.

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

The judge, however, held that Emefiele failed to prove that his arrest, detention and investigation was unlawful since it was based on a valid court order.

“Detention, no matter how small, can amount to a breach of fundamental rights,” Muazu said.

“Though I am in sympathy with the applicant (Emefiele), but my sentiment will not go far to deliver judgement by granting all the reliefs sought by the applicant.

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

“However, I am concerned that the application is not without merit. The applicant is entitled to fair hearing.

“At this point, the continued detention of the applicant cannot be justified in the absence of any charge against him.

“At the very least, justice demands that applicant should be released on administrative bail.

“Consequently, I hereby make an order, directing the respondents to within one week, charge the applicant to court or release him on administrative bail.”