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Emefiele: Constitutional Lawyers File Contempt Charge Against DSS DG

Nigerian central bank governor Godwin Emefiele in Abuja, Nigeria, in this file photograph dated July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/Files

A contempt proceeding and committal procedures have been brought against Yusuf Bichi, the director general of the Department of State Services (DSS), by a group of constitutional and human rights attorneys.

The move against Bichi, according to the attorneys, is the result of a disregard for many court decisions and judgments that required the agency to release suspended Central Bank of Nigeria governor Godwin Emefiele from their custody.

Maxwell Opara and Ahmed Tijani are leading the attorneys in their request that the court imprison Bichi until he absolves himself of the contempt.

In their motion filed before the court for the issuing of Form 48 and Form 49 which are the forms to commence proceedings to commit a contemnor to prison, the lawyers said by the judgements and orders of Justice M. A. Hassan, Justice Hamza Muazu and Justice Bello Kawu, the DSS DG ought to have released Emefiele from detention.

In the affidavit in support of the application, the consortium deposed to the fact that Justice M. A. Hassan restrained the respondents in that suit, particularly the DSS, from arresting, detaining, or interrogating Emefiele for offences connected to terrorism financing, money laundering, round tripping, financial crimes of national security dimension, among others.

It is their deposition that despite the clear and positive orders of Justice Hassan, the DSS still went ahead to arrest and detain Emefiele and has so detained him for well over a month while shopping for evidence which does not exist.

While addressing journalists after filing their processes at the registry of the court, Opara said the group would pursue the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that Bichi is sent to prison to serve as a deterrent to other heads of security agencies and top government officials that contempt of court and gross abuse of their offices for personal vendetta will no longer be tolerated.

Opara also called on President Bola Tinubu to immediately relieve Bichi of his appointment as the DSS DG for having allegedly misled the president that Emefiele had committed heinous crimes against the state only for him to now file a charge of possession of a validly registered pump action rifle against the suspended CBN governor.

The lawyer added that since there was no valid court order and the DSS had been unable to find any evidence against Emefiele, he was entitled to his release.

He concluded that the continuous detention by the DSS was unlawful and violated all his rights, hence the reason why the consortium would ensure Bichi ends up being committed to prison.


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