Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court has issued a decisive one-week ultimatum to the Department of State Security Service (DSS) regarding the detained suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
The judge ordered the DSS to either bring formal charges against Emefiele or release him from detention.
The ultimatum was pronounced during the delivery of a ruling on a fundamental human rights suit filed by Emefiele against the DSS and other relevant parties.
Justice Muazu acknowledged that Emefiele had not demonstrated that his arrest and subsequent investigation were unlawful, but he emphasized that the suspended governor was entitled to a fair hearing.
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While acknowledging the DSS’s authority to make arrests, detain individuals, and combat internal crimes, Justice Muazu highlighted that these duties must be carried out in accordance with the law.
He asserted that Emefiele could not be held in detention indefinitely without a formal charge, and he further stated that the DSS could not utilize the duration of Emefiele’s detention to gather evidence against him.
The fundamental human rights suit, brought by Emefiele against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Director General of the DSS, sought to enforce his rights to freedom of movement and human dignity.
Emefiele argued that his arrest and detention since June 10, without a valid court order, should be declared null and void.
As part of the suit, the suspended CBN Governor demanded compensation of N5 million as exemplary damages for his alleged unlawful detention.
The events leading up to Emefiele’s detention began on June 9 when he was suspended from his position as CBN governor.
In the early hours of June 10, the DSS carried out his arrest at his residence in Ikoyi, Lagos, where he has remained in detention ever since.