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Emefiele’s arrest by the DSS is halted by the court due to alleged terrorism financing

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A Federal Capital Territory, High Court sitting in Abuja has ruled that the Department of State Security’s (DSS) ongoing harassment of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele over false accusations of terrorism and other offenses is unlawful and infringes on his rights to personal liberty and dignity as a human being.

The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement Act) and the Constitution of the Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) respectively provide and enshrine his rights to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion and movement. The court concluded that the harassment violated these rights and was, therefore, unconstitutional and illegal.

The court consequently prohibited the DSS, in particular, from continuing to threaten Emefiele or to arrest him as a result of any false accusations, unless a superior court order was first obtained.

Incorporated Trustees of Forum for Accountability and Good Leadership, the plaintiff in the case, had taken the Attorney General of the Federation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, DSS, Inspector General of Police, IGP, and CBN to court and asked that the court order them to stop harassing Emefiele.

Trial judge Justice M. A. Hassan granted the request and issued the following ruling: “That any invitation to Emefiele, the Governor of CBN, in the performance of his statutory powers, functions, and duties and continuous threats by the 4th respondent (DSS), to surrender his powers to them over fabricated allegations of terrorism financing and fraudulent practices, etc., constitute a flagrant breach of his rights to personal liberty, dignity of human person, right to policymaking powers, etc.

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“That the fourth respondent (DSS) acted improperly and illegally in inciting the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s President against Emefiele in connection with the discharge of his statutory duty relating to the issuance of monetary policies and directives in the interest of National security and economy.

It is further ordered that the fourth respondent (DSS), their agents, servants, privies, and all officers under their control and command are hereby prohibited from initiating the arrest of Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, or from arresting, questioning, and detaining him for any matter or policy decision relating to the economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or for any connected purposes, unless by an order of a Superior Court.

The court, meantime, turned down the DSS, EFCC, and IGP’s plea for a cost award of N5 million.

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