The Department of State Services (DSS) come out amidst speculations that the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele is not yet in their custody. The news was awash that the DSS operatives arrested Emefiele immediately after his suspension was approved by President Bola Tinubu on Friday, June 9, 2023.
But a source disclosed that the DSS had wanted to arrest Emefiele before now but for the quiet intervention of former President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the secret police had gone to court to secure an order to effect the CBN boss’ arrest for alleged terrorism financing.
But the DSS, in a tweet on its Twitter account on Saturday, June 10, said the suspended CBN Governor is not in its custody. “Currently, Emefiele is not with the DSS,” the secret police tweeted.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who suspended Emefiele on Friday (left) with the embattled Central Bank of Nigeria Governor (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele
President Tinubu suspended Emefiele as CBN Governor on Friday over the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy. Emefiele was directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), who will act as the Central Bank Governor pending the conclusion of the investigation and the reforms.
The Star recalls that a High Court sitting in Abuja, in December 2022, stopped the DSS from arresting Emefiele over alleged terrorism financing and economic crimes.
The presiding judge, Justice M.A. Hassan, in his judgement on the motion seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents and all officers under their control and from instigating the arrest of Emefiele, barred the DSS from inviting, arresting, detaining, or charging the CBN Governor with any allegation of terrorism or fraudulent act.
Embattled Godwin Emefiele (left) with former President Muhammadu Buhari
Justice Hassan described the attempt to arrest Emefiele as oppressive, baseless, fabricated, and unacceptable. The judge ruled that any form of an invitation to CBN boss in the exercise of his statutory powers, functions, and duties, and continuous threats by the secret police to surrender his powers to them constitute “a flagrant breach of his rights to personal liberty, dignity of human person, right to policy-making powers, freedom of thought, conscience and religion and movement as respectively provided and enshrined under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act and, therefore, unconstitutional and illegal.”
Apart from the DSS, others restrained by the court order were the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the CBN.