SSS had quietly filed the application to enlongate Mr Emefiele's detention, in a desperate bid to legitimise its disobedience to an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos granting bail to him.
Court rejects SSS’ request to elongate Emefiele’s detention
The High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Thursday struck out an application filed by the State Security Service (SSS) to secure an order to detain the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, for 14 more days.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the SSS had told the court in the application that the agency had uncovered fresh evidence that warrants the request for the order.
SSS had quietly filed the application marked FCT/HC/M/12105/2023, on Wednesday, to enlongate Mr Emefiele’s detention.
It was filed in a desperate bid by the SSS to legitimise its disobedience to an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos granting bail to Mr Emefiele earlier on Tuesday.
The Federal High Court in Lagos had, on Tuesday, granted bail to Mr Emefiele after he pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition filed against him by the SSS.
It also ordered the federal prisons in Lagos to take custody of the embattled banker pending when he would meet his bail conditions.
But in violation of the court order, SSS operatives scuttled an attempt by prison officials to take custody of the defendant on the court premises, leading to a clash between the officers of the two federal agencies.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has condemned the conduct of agents of the bodies involved in the clash and called for a probe with the a view of punishing the erring officers.
Hamza Muazu, an FCT High Court judge, heard SSS’ fresh application on Thursday.
Mr Muazu struck out the application for being an abuse of court processes and for want of jurisdiction.
When the judge questioned SSS lawyer, Victor Ejelonu, on the court’s jurisdiction in view of the provisions of Sections 293 and 296 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which vests exclusive rights on the Magistrates’ Court to grant detention orders, the counsel withdrew the prayer.
Mr Emefiele, was on Tuesday granted bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum by the Federal High Court in Lagos State.
SSS vs Emefiele
The SSS has now held Mr Emefiele for 47 days after arresting him in Lagos on 10 June, a day after President Bola Tinubu’s ordered his suspension from office.
But he was not charged until about 35 days after his arrest and until after a court in Abuja gave the SSS an ultimatum to either release or prosecute him.
The agency filed charges of illegal possession of firearms against Mr Emefiele on the same day the court gave its order.
This set off a wave of disappointment among Nigerians who had heard the agency months earlier sensationally accuse the suspended CBN governor of much weightier terrorism and economic offences.
It finally arraigned him on the downgraded allegations of possession of firearms at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday.