Alex Enumah in Abuja
A High Court in Maitama, Abuja, has fixed January 8, 2024 to deliver judgment in the enforcement of fundamental rights suit filed by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele.
The trial judge, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, fixed the date for judgment yesterday shortly after listening to submissions for and against the suit by lawyers representing parties in the suit.
Besides, the judge adjourned to same date for ruling in the preliminary objections filed by all the four respondents in the suit, marked: FCT/HC/CV/040/2023.
The immediate past CBN governor had sued the federal government, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the commission over alleged breach of his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom of movement.
Before the adjournment for judgment Emefiele’s lawyer, Mr Mathew Burkaa (SAN) told the court that the applicant was detained for 151 days contrary to the law stipulating 48 hours and urged the court to enter judgment and award damages in favour of Emefiele.
He argued that the assertion of the first and second respondents challenging the authority of the deponent to Emefiele’s affidavit in support of the originating summons, claiming that the deponent, Dr Okanta Emefiele, never had any meeting with the applicant to make the deposition showed that the federal government held him incommunicado.
Burkaa argued further that the action of the respondents was enough ground for the court to enter judgment in Emefiele’s favour, adding that every Nigerian deserved the court’s protection.
He further told the court that Emefiele’s rights had been violated and the former CBN governor was apprehensive of being further arrested going by the activities of the respondents after the applicant filed the enforcement suit and his arraignment before Justice Hamza Muazu, also of the Abuja High Court.
The applicant’s further harassment by agents of the respondents, Burkaa submitted, may eventually affect Emefiele’s life.
On his part, counsel for the first and second respondents, Oyin Koleosho, urged the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.
He submitted that the government’s opposition to the suit was based on the authority and the source of information of the deponent to the affidavit in support of the originating summons.
According to him, Emefiele was transferred to the custody of EFCC on October 26, while the application was filed on October 31, saying that between that period there was no contact or communication between Emefiele and the deponent.
He added that in Emefiele’s further affidavit, there was nowhere reference was made to the time, date and venue where the applicant and the deponent met, submitting that this rendered the deposition incompetent.
Counsel for the third and fourth respondents, Farouk Abdullah, while praying the court to dismiss the suit for being misconceived and brought in bad faith, informed that Emefiele was brought to EFCC custody on October 26 and the commission obtained a remand order on October 27 to remand the applicant for 14 days.
He said while he would not trivialise the activities of the federal government, there were different ministries, departments and agencies with different mandates.
According to him, Emefiele in his originating summons made certain allegations in which he alleged some infractions were made by the Department of State Service (DSS), adding that the DSS ought to have been brought into the suit.
Earlier, counsel for the respondents had argued their respective preliminary objection against the suit brought before the court by the former CBN boss.