Barring any last minute change of plan, the Department of State Services (DSS) will today produce in court the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele over alleged illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
President Bola Tinubu had on Friday, June 9, 2023, suspended Emefiele as the apex bank’s Governor and had directed that the bank’s Deputy Governor of Operations, Folashodun Shonubi, resume office in an acting capacity.
The next day, the DSS confirmed that Emefiele was in its custody, and he has since remained with the secret police
However, after a prolonged incarceration without being charged to court, Justice Adamu Muazu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on July 13, ordered the DSS to charge the suspended CBN governor to court within the next one week or release him on administrative bail.
The Judge noted that the agency had powers to arrest and detain any person in respect of an alleged crime, however held that the agency cannot continue to keep Emefiele in custody while looking for evidence to file a charge against him.
He gave the order while delivering judgment in a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Emefiele, challenging his continued detention by the government.
In compliance with the court order, DSS filed a two-count charge bordering on illegal possession of firearms and ammunition against Emefiele before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The matter is slated to come up today before a vacation judge, Justice Nicholas Oweibo.
Already, hearing notices to that effect had been issued and sent out by the court to the counsel involved in the matter. A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association Joseph Daudu, is expected to lead Emefiele’s defence team.
The DSS in its two-count charge of illegal processions of firearm and ammunition had accused Emefiele of possessing a single-barrel shotgun (JOJEFF MAGNUM 8371) without a licence.
In the second count, the service charged him with illegally possessing 23 rounds of live ammunition (cartridges) without a licence. The offence was also said to be contrary to Section 8 of the Firearms Act and punishable under Section 27 (1)(b)(il) of the same Act.