Lawyers Initiate Contempt Charge Against DSS DG Over Failure To Release Emefiele

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A group of lawyers has taken legal action against Yusuf Bichi, the Director-General (DG) of the Department of State Services (DSS), for his failure to release Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Lawyers Initiate Contempt Charge Against DSS DG Over Failure To Release Emefiele
Godwin Emefiele

The lawyers have filed a contempt suit against Bichi at the Federal High Court in Abuja, citing multiple judgments and orders issued in separate instances.

Maxwell Opara and Ahmed Tijani, leading the legal team, are requesting that the court holds Bichi in contempt and commits him to prison. They argue that the DG of the DSS should have ordered the release of Emefiele from custody in compliance with the existing judgments and orders.

One of the referenced orders, delivered on December 29, 2022, by Justice M. A. Hassan of the Garki FCT High Court, prohibited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting Emefiele on allegations related to “acts of financing terrorism, fraudulent activities, and economic crimes of national security dimension.”

However, on June 9, President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele from his position as CBN Governor and directed him to transfer his responsibilities to Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, the Deputy Governor of the Operations Directorate.

The following day, the DSS announced that Emefiele was in its custody for “investigative reasons.” Since early June, Emefiele has remained in DSS custody, with the agency asserting that it has a valid court order to detain him.

On July 13, Justice Hamza Muazu ordered the DSS to either release the suspended CBN Governor or charge him to court. Shortly after, the DSS declared that Emefiele had been charged in court. On Friday, Justice Bello Kawu also directed the DSS to release Emefiele within two days or bring him before the court to face charges.

In their supporting affidavit, the lawyers claimed that the State Security Service continued to detain Emefiele for over a month, despite “the clear and positive orders” issued by Justice Hassan. They accused the DSS of searching for non-existent evidence while unjustly holding the suspended governor.

Maxwell Opara assured the public that their group of lawyers is determined to pursue the case until justice is served, emphasizing their intention to ensure that the DSS DG, Bichi, is sent to prison for contempt.

Opara stated, “It is now evident to Nigerians that the SSS is persecuting Mr. Emefiele. After detaining him for five weeks, they could only file a ridiculous charge of possessing a validly registered pump-action gun.

“If possessing a legally registered firearm is considered an offense worthy of perpetual detention, what action has the SSS taken against the individual from a specific region of the country who is threatening Nigerians with an assault rifle? This clearly demonstrates that Mr. Emefiele’s ordeal is primarily driven by political motives.”

The case against Yusuf Bichi, the DSS Director-General, will proceed in the Federal High Court as the lawyers seek justice for the continued detention of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Lawyers Initiate Contempt Proceedings Against DSS DG Over Failure To Release Emefiele

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