A group of lawyers under the platform of Lawyers in Defence of Democracy (LDD) have condemned the endless use of fabricated charges by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) to continue to hold the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, in illegal detention especially the new afterthought charges of breach of contract procurement law and called on President Bola Tinubu to immediately sack the Director General of the DSS, Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi, for dragging the agency into a matter outside its jurisdiction and competence to handle.
“Mallam Bichi should be sacked now for pioneering the affairs of the organization in a manner that appears it has lost focus of its statutory mandate,” the lawyers stated.
The lawyers’ position was informed by the involvement of the DSS in the arrest and subsequent charges preferred against Emefiele.
While describing the fresh 20-count charge against Emefiele as forum shopping and politically motivated, the lawyers wondered why the DSS should abandon their statutory mandate of internal security to issues bordering on procurement of vehicles.
Spokesperson of the group, Ahmed Yusuf Tijani, who spoke to journalists after the aborted arraignment of the former CBN governor, equally called on President Tinubu to review the modus operandi of the DSS.
“We are here to witness the arraignment of the suspended CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele. You will recall that on July 25, 2023, we were in Lagos at Ikoyi Federal High Court, where the DSS arraigned former CBN governor on a two-count charge bordering on illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
“We condemned that arraignment and fortunately, the Court granted bail to Emefiele and you saw the show of shame that took place in court on that very day. We condemned both the arraignment and the charges and we told you that the gun in question was a dane gun.
“I think they have gone back and look at the charge they preferred against him and they realized that they have goofed. Today, they wanted to arraign him on a 20-count bordering on procurement.
“It appears to us that the DSS has lost focus of its constitutional and statutory mandate. The DSS was established to handle matters that bordered on internal security -terrorism.
“Before now, they told us that Emefiele has cases to answer on matters that has to do with terrorism. We were expecting that the charges will reflect terrorism count charges. Surprisingly, what we saw is matters bordering on procurement.That he gave contracts for the award of Land Cruisers.
“This is a charade and making mockery of prosecution. We can’t take this. What the DSS is doing is forum shopping.
“This is an organization that appears to us to have outlived its usefulness in this country. We call on President Bola Tinubu to review the mondus operandi of the DSS. It appears that they have lost focus and indeed, they have lost focus,” the statement said.
The group called on the newly appointed Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice(AGF), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) to review the activities of the DSS.
“We watched him speak during his screening at the National Assembly how he articulated his points on the justice sector which include reforms and how he condemned executive recklessness. We believe he can correctly fix the Justice sector of the country, this is the time for him to act,” Tijani observed.
“The DSS is no longer the organization that was formed as at the time it was formed. It has derailed and lost focus and we call on well meaning Nigerians to ensure that the DSS sticks its mandate or be scrapped. This is our position.”
Another member of the group, Okere Kingdom, in his contribution, narrated how the DSS had in December last year framed Emefiele for financing terrorism and actions that undermined national security.
“It all started in December when the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, refused to grant a black market injunction at the request of the DSS. This is purely a political vendetta.”
He called on the DSS to live by example by publicly publishing its audited account of the procurement of their operational vehicles.