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Alleged terrorism: DSS can’t arrest Emefiele, court rules

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The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court Abuja, Justice John Tsoho, has rejected the suit filed by the Department of State Services to arrest governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele over terrorism charges.

The Chief judge described the suit as an illegal operation and plot to deceive the court into granting a frivolous order to help them arrest and deprive an innocent man of his personal liberty.

Delivering his ruling on suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022 between State Security Service (applicant) and Godwin Emefiele (respondent), Justice Tsoho said the entire affidavit depositions, especially as per paragraph 4 of the supporting affidavit, which purport that preliminary investigation has revealed various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities perpetrated by the respondent and his involvement In economic crimes of national security dimension.

A copy of the ruling was obtained by journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Chief Judge said these were no doubt, grave allegations, but which the applicant had.not presented any concrete evidence to support and the applicant should had taken the court into confidence, while seeking the exercise of its discretion in favour of granting its application.

Declining the request, the Chief Judge thereby ruled that if, however, the applicant desired to still pursue this application, then it should place the Respondent on Notice, considering the Sensitive Public Office that he occupies.

The Judge said, “It is my respectful opinion that the ipse dixit of the Applicant standing on its own, is not sufficient evidence upon which to deprive a person of his liberty. The Respondent in this application is named as ‘Godwin Emefiele’ without disclosure of his status or position anywhere; not even in the affidavit. It is left to speculation if the ‘Godwin Emefiele’ is the same person as the serving Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“If it is, then he is unarguably a high ranking public official In Nigeria and indeed occupies a sensitive position as one of the key drivers of the Nation’s Economy. Therefore, an application of this kind should have evidence of the approval of the Respondent’s boss, that such measures are authorised to be taken, however, do not find such evidence in this instant application, whereas It Is a necessary procedure in the observance of the Rule of Law.

“It is noted that it has been the practice of the applicant to seek detention of a Respondent or further detention, for a definite period of time, when such Respondent is already arrested and Is In their custody and that fact is clearly disclosed in the supporting affidavit. This is not the situation here, as Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor was shown on Television, even last night, having audience with the President of Nigeria.

“It, therefore, seems that the applicant Intends to use the Court, as a cover for an irregular procedure, which is unacceptable. In the light of the foregoing reasons, I decline to grant this application Ex parte. If the applicant believes that the evidence available to it so far is sufficient, then It can as well arrest and detain the applicant, even without the Order of this Court. If however the applicant desires to still pursue this application, then it should place the Respondent on Notice, considering the sensitive public office that he occupies. This application as presently constituted is refused.”

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