Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, has struck out an application secretly filed by the Department of State Services to secure an order to detain the suspended former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele for a further 14 days based on what they referred to as fresh evidence they have uncovered.
The application which was marked FCT/HC/M/12105/2023 and heard by Justice Hamza Muazu was quietly filed on Thursday by the lawyers from the agency and came up before the vacation judge today.
The judge struck out the application for being an abuse of court process and for lack of jurisdiction.
When the judge questioned counsel to the DSS, 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 Magistrate Court to grant detention order, the Counsel applied and withdrew the matter.
It is believed that what the DSS did was an attempt to use the court to legalize what the Service did in Lagos where they abducted Mr. Emefiele from the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service.
The application followed the re -arrest of Mr. Emefiele from the premises of the Federal High Court in Lagos by the DSS after he was remanded in the custody of the Correctional Centre pending the perfection of his bail which was granted by Justice Nicholas Oweibo.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Tribune reports that condemnation and outrage trailed the filing of the Exparte application by the DSS before the FCT High Court seeking an order to detain the suspended former Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele for a further 14 days.
Abuja based Constitutional lawyer, Nnamdi Mba in his reaction said, “You cannot be charging someone to court yet you cannot obey the same court. What the DSS is doing is tantamount to intimidating the courts”.
Another lawyer, C. C. Nwudo who analyzed the situation stated, “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 but the duty of the court.
“Hence, once a defendant is granted bail, except the judge specifically mentions 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.
“Except they tell a bunch of lies in their application to the judge, 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 their application”.
Another lawyer, Mr. Hassan Omale in his own reaction said “the abduction of Emefiele by the DSS from the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service without Court order is unlawful and outright criminal and whoever gave the order for such to happen ought to be removed from office immediately.”
“With the application having been struck out by the Court, the DSS is now in a very difficult position to continue to further detain Mr. Emefiele who has been in their custody for more than six weeks.
“They cannot continue to hold him illegally and they cannot get another magistrate order to overrule the order of the High Court since the High Court does not have jurisdiction to grant them such an order.
“This is yet another judicial loss suffered by the DSS against Emefiele in a case that has been dubbed by many as persecution and personal vendetta”, he said.