The suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has taken steps to regain his freedom from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) while awaiting a final decision regarding his case.
On Friday, Emefiele obtained an order from a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, directing the Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, to grant him access to his lawyers and family members.
Emefiele was arrested by the DSS on Saturday following his suspension by President Bola Tinubu. He is currently being interrogated at the DSS headquarters in Abuja on charges of alleged terrorism financing, economic sabotage, mismanagement of forex, and the naira redesign policy, among others.
Justice Hamza Muazu of the FCT High Court granted the order on Friday, stating that Emefiele’s constitutional right was to have access to his lawyers and family members. The court order specified that his lawyers should be allowed to visit him immediately and regularly at reasonable times until a decision is made on the matter.
The order was issued in response to an application filed by Emefiele’s counsel, J. B. Daudu, SAN, who informed the court that the DSS had failed to respond to previous requests for access to the suspended apex bank governor.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, the DG DSS, and the DSS itself are listed as respondents in the lawsuit.
Counsel for the second and third respondents, I. Awo, argued that the DSS had never rejected such access requests in the past and that the denial of access was inappropriate. Awo expressed confidence that the security service would comply with the court order and allow the listed lawyers and family members to visit Emefiele.
The Attorney-General’s office did not oppose the application, while the counsel for the DSS and the AGF office requested an extension of time to file their responses to the originating motion. The court granted the request and scheduled the hearing of the substantive suit for Tuesday, June 19, 2023.
It has been reported that the DSS obtained an ex parte order from the court, allowing them to detain Emefiele beyond the 48-hour limit stipulated in Section 35 of the Constitution. Similar orders were obtained for the extension of the detention of the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Government sources suggest that the DSS took this step to deter Emefiele from filing lawsuits to protect his fundamental human rights. The sources state that the DSS aims to prevent his lawyers from arguing that his rights have been violated due to the extended detention, as he should not be held for more than 48 hours according to the constitution.
The spokesperson for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunaya, declined to comment on the matter when approached by the news source.
Additionally, it has been revealed that Emefiele’s passport has been confiscated, and there may be searches conducted at his home and office by DSS operatives during the week.