Barely 24 hours after an FCT High Court sitting in Abuja ordered the release of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, from detention, another FCT High Court, on Friday, has also nullified his arrest, detention and interrogation by the Department of State Services (DSS).
In a judgment upon an Originating Motion on Notice brought before the Court by Mr. Emefiele, against Incorporated Trustees of Forum for Accountability and Good Leadership, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Inspector General of Police, State Security Service (SSS) and the Central Bank of Nigeria, the presiding Judge held that the arrest, detention and interrogation of Emefiele were in violation of the subsisting judgment and orders of Justice M. A. Hassan in Suit No. FCT/HC/GAR/CV/41/2022.
Mr. Emefiele through his Counsel, Mr. Peter Abang, had asked the court to set aside, quash, invalidate and nullify the arrest and detention of the Applicant for being illegal and a nullity in view of the subsisting judgment of Justice M. A. Hassan delivered on December 29, 2022.
In another prayer granted by Hon. Justice Bello Kawu, the Court made an order setting aside, voiding, quashing, invalidating and nullifying any warrant of arrest obtained or procured by the Respondents, especially the DSS for the arrest, detention and/or interrogation of Mr. Emefiele in connection with the allegations of terrorism financing, fraudulent practices, money laundering, round tripping, threat to national security before or from any court since the date of the judgment of Justice M. A. Hassan.
Furthermore, the Court granted an injunction restraining the Respondents, particularly the DSS from arresting, detaining, further detaining or proceeding against, breaching or interfering with Mr. Emefiele’s personal liberty and freedom of movement or taking any other steps against him in connection with any allegations of terrorism financing, fraudulent practices, money laundering, round tripping, threat to national security before or from any court since the date of the judgment of Justice M. A. Hassan.
The Court finally granted an order of injunction directing and mandating the Respondents, particularly the DSS to forthwith release and unfetter Mr. Emefiele from any arrest, detention, custody, interrogation with regard to allegations of terrorism financing, fraudulent practices, money laundering, round tripping, threat to national security before or from any court in view of the subsisting judgment of Justice M. A. Hassan.
In his reaction to the latest judgment, Counsel to Mr. Emefiele told journalists that beyond the release of his client, that Nigerians must celebrate the fact that Nigerian judges despite several acts of intimidation by security agencies and the some unfavourable conditions under which they work are bold to dispense justice not minding whose ox is gored.
He called on the DSS to immediate comply with the orders of the court and release his client so that he can go and look after his failing health aggravated by over one month of illegal and unlawful arrest and detention.
This judgment is the third favourable judgment the former CBN helmsman is getting against the DSS yet he has remained in detention for over a month.