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Court to deliver judgment on N1bn suit January

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Godwin Emefiele the embattled former CBN governor arrives in court

The Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja has set January 8 for judgment in the N1 billion fundamental rights suit filed against the Federal Government by former Central Bank of Nigeria governor Godwin Emefiele.

Emefiele filed the lawsuit to challenge his prolonged detention in the Department of State Services’ custody.

The Chronicle NG reports that the ex-CBN helmsman was arrested on June 10, shortly after his suspension by President Bola Tinubu.

The suit names as defendants the Federal Government, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and its chairman.

He is asking the court to rule that his prolonged detention by the first and second respondents’ agencies since June 10, 2023, and subsequent transfer to the custody of the third and fourth respondents on October 26, 2023, without being arraigned in court, was illegal.

He wants the court to order the respondents to pay him N1 billion in damages and to stop arresting and detaining him in the future.

At the resumption of the hearing on Monday, his lawyer, Mathew Burkaa (SAN), told the court that the former CBN governor had been detained for 151 days in violation of the law.

As a result, he urged the court to enter judgment and award damages to his client.

Burkaa claimed that Emefiele was held incommunicado, citing the fact that the suit’s deponent, Dr. Okanta Emefiele, was denied access to the ex-CBN governor and was unable to communicate with him.

He claimed that this was sufficient grounds for the court to rule in Emefiele’s favor, arguing that every Nigerian deserved the court’s protection.

Responding, Oyin Koleosho, counsel for the first and second respondents, urged the court to dismiss the suit for lack of merit.

He claimed that the government’s opposition to the suit was based on the deponent’s authority and source of information in the affidavit in support of the originating summons.

Emefiele was transferred to the EFCC‘s custody on October 26, according to him, and the application was filed on October 31.

He went on to say that Emefiele and the deponent had no contact or communication during that time.

He also claimed that Emefiele’s further and better affidavit made no mention of the time, date, or location where the applicant and deponent met.

He claimed that this rendered the deposition ineffective.

Farouk Abdullah, counsel for the third and fourth respondents, asked the court to dismiss the case because it was misconceived and brought in bad faith.

He informed the court that Emefiele was taken into EFCC custody on October 26 and that the commission obtained a remand order to remand the applicant for 14 days on October 27.

He stated that, while he would not trivialize the Federal Government’s activities, there were various ministries, departments, and agencies with different mandates.

According to Emefiele, the DSS should have been included in the suit.

After hearing from counsel, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi set January 8 as the date for judgment.

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