The Department of State Services (DSS) says it has charged Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to court.
This comes after the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Abuja on Thursday ordered the secret police to release the suspended apex bank governor from detention or charge him within seven days.
PeoplesActs News earlier reported that the presiding judge, Justice Hamza Muazu, gave the order after hearing the arguments of all parties in the matter.
Justice Muazu gave the order in his ruling in a fundamental human rights suit filed by Emefiele to challenge his arrest and detention by the secret police.
However, in a statement released later on Thursday titled ‘DSS Has Charged Emefiele To Court,’ the secret police said they had filed charges against Emefiele in line with the court ruling.
Peter Afunanya, the DSS Public Relations Officer said, “Sequel to an Abuja High Court Order of today, 13th July, 2023, the Department of State Services (DSS) hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele has been charged to Court in compliance with the Order.
“The public may recall that the Service had, in 2022, applied for a Court Order to detain him in respect of a criminal investigation. Though he obtained a restraining Order from an FCT High Court, the Service, however, arrested him in June 2023, on the strength of suspected fresh criminal infractions/information, one of which forms the basis for his current prosecution.
“The Service assures the public of professionalism, justice and fairness in handling this matter and indeed the discharge of its duties within the confines of the law.”
Emefiele was suspended “sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy” according to a release by Willie Bassey, the Director, Information, for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume.
The former apex bank chief was arrested on June 10, 2023, over a week after President Bola Tinubu was sworn in.
On November 23, 2022, then-President Muhammadu Buhari alongside Emefiele unveiled new naira notes in denominations of N200, N500 and N1,000. Emefiele insisted that the old notes would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
Addressing journalists after the event, Emefiele insisted that the move was not targeted at anyone as there were speculations that the move was pushed by the cabal in the Presidency and targeted at preventing Bola Tinubu, then-presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress from winning the February 25, 2023 election.
The policy caused Nigerians untold hardship due to the scarcity of naira notes with the CBN unable to meet the demand for new notes. The policy led to a cash crisis and long queues at banks and ATMs.
To make matters worse, Emefiele had earlier refused to heed a Supreme Court ruling which made the old notes legal tender till December 31, before former President Buhari distanced himself from the disobedience to the court order.
SaharaReporters in February reported how the DSS attempted to arrest Emefiele, but the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, shielded him by providing soldiers to guard his residence and office.
The DSS had said it intensified its investigations in order to arrest and prosecute Emefiele, on allegations of terrorism financing and fraud.
SaharaReporters also in February reported that new court documents obtained from the DSS indicted Emefiele for funding “unknown gunmen” terrorising the Southeast region of the country.
Shortly after President Bola Tinubu suspended him, the DSS on June 10 arrested the apex bank governor who has been in detention since then.