Court Gives Emefiele January 25 To Appear Over $53m Debt

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, an extension until January 25 to appear in court and provide an explanation regarding the circumstances surrounding a $53 million judgment debt related to the Paris Club refund. Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled on this matter, offering Emefiele another opportunity to appear in person, or else an arrest warrant could be issued against him.

The court’s decision came after a request from Emefiele and the counsel representing CBN, Audu Anuga, SAN, who explained that their efforts to ensure Emefiele’s personal appearance in compliance with the court’s order had been unsuccessful due to his continued custody.

Anuga mentioned that an affidavit explaining why an arrest warrant should not be issued against Emefiele was filed on October 30. The judge asked the lawyer representing the judgment creditor/applicant in the case if they had been served with this affidavit, and they confirmed receipt, requesting time to react.

Justice Ekwo, while cautioning against late filing of legal documents, noted that the case had initially come up on July 19. However, Anuga argued that they had made extensive efforts to secure Emefiele’s release in accordance with the court’s order but faced difficulties, leading to the filing of the affidavit.

Despite suggestions for a settlement, the judge emphasized that Emefiele must appear in court on the next scheduled date.

“As for the 4th respondent (Emefiele), I have always said, contempt proceedings follow a person whether the person Is still there or not.

“In this case, I have given this particular person so much liberty, so much leniency and the situation does not seem to change.

“I will adjourn the matter because the other side says they want to react to the process so there is no much talk.

“Order of court must be complied with and even if no one complies with the order of the court, the court must comply with its order.

“I will give you sufficient time,” he said.

The judge, consequently, adjourned the matter until Jan. 25 for Emefiele to show cause why an arrest warrant should not be issued against him.