Lawyers File Contempt Of Charge Against DG DSS Over Failure To Release Emefiele

A group of constitutional and human rights lawyers have taken legal action against Yusuf Bichi, the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), by filing a contempt charge and initiating committal proceedings. The lawyers claim that Bichi violated several court judgments and orders instructing the release of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, from DSS custody.

Maxwell Opara and Ahmed Tijani, leading the legal team, are requesting that the court imprison Bichi until he purges himself of contempt. In their motion, they ask the court to issue Form 48 and Form 49, which are the necessary forms to initiate proceedings to imprison a person for contempt.

The lawyers argue that based on the judgments and orders of Justice M. A. Hassan, Justice Hamza Muazu, and Justice Bello Kawu, the DSS Director General was obligated to release Emefiele from detention. They state in their affidavit that Justice M. A. Hassan specifically restrained the respondents, particularly the DSS, from arresting, detaining, or interrogating Emefiele for offenses related to terrorism financing, money laundering, round-tripping, and other financial crimes of national security importance.

According to the lawyers, despite the clear and explicit orders from Justice Hassan, the DSS still arrested and detained Emefiele for over a month while attempting to find evidence that does not exist.

After submitting the necessary documents at the court registry, Opara addressed the media, emphasizing that the group will see the matter through to its conclusion. They intend to ensure that Bichi is imprisoned as a deterrent to other heads of security agencies and senior government officials, making it clear that contempt of court and abuse of power for personal vendettas will no longer be tolerated.

Opara also called on President Bola Tinubu to promptly dismiss Bichi from his position as DSS Director General, alleging that Bichi misled the president by claiming that Emefiele had committed serious crimes against the state. However, the charge filed against the suspended CBN governor is now limited to the possession of a legally registered pump-action rifle.

The lawyer further stated that since there is no valid court order and the DSS has been unable to find any evidence against Emefiele, he should be released. Opara concluded by asserting that the ongoing detention by the DSS is unlawful and violates all of Emefiele’s rights. Therefore, the consortium of lawyers is determined to ensure that Bichi is ultimately imprisoned for his actions.

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