Suspended CBN Governor Seeks Court Protection Against Federal Prosecution

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Suspended CBN Governor Seeks Court Protection Against Federal Prosecution
Former CBN Governor’s Fight Against Federal Prosecution

The suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has approached the Federal High Court in Lagos, petitioning to halt the Federal Government’s prosecution efforts against him. This move comes as Emefiele finds himself entangled in a legal battle with the Department of State Services (DSS).

Emefiele was initially arraigned on July 25 by the DSS on charges of alleged illegal possession of a firearm. Although he was granted bail and ordered to be remanded in prison custody, he was subsequently re-arrested by the DSS, sparking controversy and raising questions about the due process.

In a fresh application submitted to Justice Nicholas Oweibo, Emefiele, represented by a legal team led by Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, is urging the court to dismiss all charges against him leveled by the DSS. His argument centers around the alleged “brazen disobedience” of existing court orders that granted him bail on July 25, 2023.

Emefiele’s application also calls for an order that would prevent the Federal Government from receiving any judicial leniency until it adheres to the conditions set out in the bail ruling. This legal stance is grounded in Section 6(6)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as well as relevant provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, and the inherent powers vested in the court. The core demand is for the court to suspend ongoing proceedings in the current charge until all legal avenues have been exhausted to compel the government and the DSS to follow the court’s orders, whether that involves admitting Emefiele to bail or holding him in prison custody until the bail terms are perfected.

Emefiele’s application holds a broader purpose; he seeks to invoke the court’s jurisdiction to enforce its orders, striving to disprove any perception that the court is ineffectual or incapable of enforcing its own rulings. In his own words, this legal move aims to “preserve and protect the efficacy, majesty, and integrity of the court as well as the rule of law in our democracy.”

Meanwhile, the DSS has entered into the legal arena, contesting Emefiele’s claims. The court is set to deliberate on the fresh application during the present hearing.

This high-stakes legal battle between the suspended CBN governor and the Federal Government underscores the intricate dynamics between the judiciary and executive branches, as well as the broader implications for upholding the rule of law in the Nigerian democracy. The nation watches with bated breath as the court weighs the arguments on both sides and prepares to make a significant decision that could set a crucial precedent for legal proceedings involving prominent public figures.

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