Emefiele Resumes, Says He Remains Committed to His Oath of Office, Buhari’s Policy Direction
•DSS denies arresting CBN governor
•President intervenes, insists court order must be obeyed
•Adegboruwa, human rights group ask secret police to stop harassing apex bank’s governor
Kingsley Nwezeh, Sunday Aborisade in Abuja and Wale Igbintade in Lagos
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has resumed duty after his annual vacation abroad with a renewed commitment to perform the task before him in line with his oath of office and the policy direction of President Muhammadu Buhari.
This was just as the Department of State Services (DSS) yesterday denied the news making the rounds that its operatives invaded the CBN’s office and arrested Emefiele, describing it as fake news.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, explained that Emefiele, who proceeded on leave in December 2022, resumed work yesterday.
According to him, “the governor resumed with renewed vigour to perform his duty ahead of the first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the year scheduled for January 23 to 24, 2023.”
He stated that Emefiele remains committed to performing the task before him in line with his oath of office and the policy direction of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“While thanking the public for keeping faith with the Bank, we urge Nigerians to continue to support the policies of the Bank aimed at ensuring a stable financial system and the Nigerian economy in general,” he added.
On his part, the Public Relations Officer, DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, in a statement yesterday, stated that: “The attention of the DSS has been drawn to the false news making the round that its operatives invaded the Central Bank of Nigeria and arrested its Governor, today 16/1/23. This is fake news and quite misleading.”
THISDAY reliably gathered that President Buhari finally intervened in the attempt by the DSS to arrest and detain Emefiele, insisting that the court order that restrained the security agency from harassing or arresting the CBN governor must be obeyed.
It was learnt that during his return at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, DSS officials attempted to manhandle him, but they were called to order by the president who told them that he operates a rule-based government that upholds the rule of law.
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) has also asked the DSS and the Presidency to stop the ongoing harassment of the CBN governor, unless there was a hidden agenda.
Also, a civil society organisation, the African Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR), has argued that the DSS would rubbish Buhari and the judiciary if it arrests Emefiele.
It was gathered that the DSS had secretly approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to seek a warrant to arrest Emefiele over allegations that he was involved in terrorism financing and economic crimes.
But the Chief Judge, Justice JT Tsoho, had declined the application and held that the secret police did not provide any concrete evidence to substantiate its claims.
However, while Adegboruwa in a statement noted that a public officer cannot be above probe or the law if there was indeed a case for him to answer, he also challenged the DSS to file charges against Emefiele if it has basis for doing so.
The senior lawyer acknowledged that the various crises surrounding the CBN governor do not speak well for the economy, adding, however, that there should be no undue persecution or arrest of anyone without lawful cause or justification.
The statement read: “We should not and cannot elevate a public officer above the law and above probe, if there is indeed a case for him to answer.
“The DSS sought court order to arrest and investigate him unsuccessfully, and the service was greatly embarrassed through the process.
“There should be no undue persecution or arrest of any citizen without lawful cause or justification but no one should be shielded from probe.
“There is therefore no need for the seemingly unending drama between Mr. Emefiele, the DSS and the Presidency, unless of course it is part of the hidden agenda.”
On its part, the ACJHR stated that the DSS would rubbish Buhari and the judiciary if it arrests Emefiele.
In a statement issued yesterday by its spokesperson, Abubakar Isa, the civil society organisation (CSO) said it would be “recklessness” on the path of the secret police if it goes ahead to arrest the CBN governor despite a court order.
“The court, as the last hope of the citizen, has made a pronouncement on the legal rights and obligations of citizen Godwin Emefiele; it behooves all agencies of government to obey the order of the court until such order is set aside by an appellate court,” Isa said.
“The constitutional role of the judiciary as the third arm of government includes serving as a bulwark against oppression and intimidation. Regrettably, this hallowed principle appears to mean little to the country’s political leadership despite decades of democracy.
“In a display of recklessness, DSS is about to exhibit defiance to a lawful court order, thereby violating a major pillar of democratic governance and an orderly society.
“A major hallmark of democratic governance is the principle and practice of the separation of powers. DSS will be rubbishing President Buhari and the judiciary if they go after the CBN governor despite court order barring them,” he added.