An Abuja High Court situated in Maitama has issued an order on Thursday, instructing the Department of State Services (DSS) to release Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), from custody within seven days or bring him before a court for charges.
Justice Hamza Muazu, delivering the judgment, stated that the continuous detention of Emefiele without a trial was a severe violation of his basic human rights. The judge emphasized that the Nigerian Constitution is based on the principle of the rule of law, which necessitates that all actions must adhere to legal procedures.
However, the court acknowledged the existence of evidence indicating that an Abuja Chief Magistrate Court had issued an order permitting the security agency to detain Emefiele for a duration of 14 days to complete its investigations. Consequently, the court concluded that Emefiele failed to prove that his arrest, detention, and investigation were unlawful since they were based on a valid court order.
Justice Muazu emphasized that the DSS, being a reputable institution responsible for ensuring internal security within the country, must conduct its operations in strict compliance with the provisions of the Constitution.
“Though I am in sympathy with the Applicant (Emefiele), but my sentiment will not go far to deliver judgement by granting all the reliefs sought by the Applicant.
“The Applicant has not shown that his arrest, detention and investigation were unlawful.
“However, I am concerned that the application is not without merit. The Applicant is entitled to fair hearing.
“At this point, the continued detention of the Applicant cannot be justified in the absence of any charge against him.
“At the very least, justice demands that Applicant should be released on administrative bail.
“Consequently, I hereby male an order, directing the Respondents to within one week, charge the Applicant to court or release him on administrative bail,” the court held.
The judgment followed a suit filed by Emefiele, through his legal team led by Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), seeking the enforcement of his fundamental rights.
Emefiele, who has been in custody since June 9, alleged in his suit, labeled as FCT/HC/CV/6450/23, that the DSS violated his constitutional rights to freedom, liberty, freedom of movement, and a fair hearing.