Abuja—A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Maitama, on Thursday, rejected a fresh application the Department of State Services, DSS, filed for an order to further detain the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for another 14 days, the Vanguard reports.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Hamza Muazu, held that the application constituted an abuse of the judicial process, adding that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain it.
Specifically, the security agency, in the application marked: FCT/HC/M/12105/2023, told the court that it uncovered a fresh evidence that would require it to further retain the suspended governor of the apex bank in its custody.
It, therefore, prayed the court to allow it to hold Emefiele in custody for another 14 days, to give room for the conclusion of its ongoing investigation.
However, when the case was called up for hearing, Justice Muazu asked the counsel that represented the agency, Mr. Victor Ejelonu, to address him on whether the court has the requisite jurisdiction to grant the application, in view of provisions of Sections 293 and 296 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Justice Muazu noted that the said provisions vested exclusive rights of granting such application on the Magistrate Court.
Following the observation of the judge who maintained that the high court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the order, counsel to the DSS, Mr. Ejelonu, applied and withdrew it.
It will be recalled that operatives of the DSS had on June 10, stormed Emefiele’s Ikoyi residence in Lagos and arrested him.
The arrest came a day after Emefiele was suspended as the governor of the CBN by President Bola Tinubu.
The embattled CBN boss remained in custody until Wednesday when he was arraigned before the Federal High Court in Lagos on a two-count charge of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Meanwhile, upon his arraignment and plea of innocence, the court granted Emefiele bail to the tune of N20million with one surety in the like sum.
Trial Justice Nicolas Oweibo ordered that the defendant should be remanded in prison custody, pending the perfection of his bail conditions.
Not willing to comply with the court order, the DSS re-arrested Emefiele in the court premises, in an operation that led its operatives to violently manhandle a senior prison official.
While reacting to the fresh request by the DSS for a detention order, Abuja based lawyer, Mr. Nnamdi Mba, argued that the security agency treated the court with disrespect.
He said: “You cannot be charging someone to court and yet you cannot obey the same court.
“What the DSS is doing is tantamount to intimidating the courts.”
Likewise, another lawyer, Mr. C. C Nwodu, added, “Ordinarily, when a person is brought to court and takes his plea, it is no longer the duty of the security agency that brought the defendant to court to determine where the person will be held in custody. It is the duty of the court.
“Hence, once a defendant is granted bail, except the judge specifically mentioned otherwise, the men of the Nigeria Correctional Service take custody of such person until the bail conditions are perfected.
“In the case of Emefiele, the DSS practically abducted him from the custody of the Correctional Service and have now filed for an order seeking to further detain him for 14 days, when they have held him consecutively for over six weeks and have exhausted the maximum two previous orders to detain him for 28 days.
“No judge, knowing the true facts of this matter can grant them such application. I am glad to hear that the judge courageously struck out the application,” he added.