Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has refused to grant an expert application filed by the State Security Service (SSS) Seeking the court’s backing to detain the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over allegations of terrorism financing.
Justice Tsoho, in a ruling delivered on December 13 and obtained by our correspondent on Monday, held that the secret service failed to put before him enough evidence to support its claim against Emefiele.
The judge also lambasted the secret service for trying to obtain the remand order through the backdoor by trying to conceal the true identity of the apex bank boss.
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The court held, “the entire affidavit depositions 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, these are no doubt, grave allegations, but which the Applicant has not presented any concrete evidence to support.
“The Applicant should have taken the Court into confidence while seeking the exercise of its discretion in favour of granting its application. 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 “Godwin Emefiele” without disclosure of his status or position anywhere; not even in the affidavit.
“It Is left to speculate if “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.
“I, however, do not find such evidence of 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, when such Respondent is already arrested and Is in their custody and that fact Is disclosed In the supporting affidavit.
“This is not the situation here, Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor was shown on Television, even last night, having an 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 fight 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,” the judge ruled.