On Godwin Emefiele’s bail hearing, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (OAGF) have told a Federal High Court in Abuja that suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor will flee the country if granted bail.
The two agencies made the claim on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, during a hearing on Emefiele’s application for bail. Emefiele is challenging his detention by the DSS and denying him seeing his family members and lawyers.
The DSS told the court that Emefiele is a flight risk and that he has access to “substantial resources” that could be used to flee the country. The agency also said that Emefiele has been “evasive” in his responses to questions about his assets and finances.
The OAGF, for its part, argued that Emefiele’s detention is “in the interest of national security.” The agency said that Emefiele is being investigated for “serious financial crimes” and that he could interfere with the investigation if he is granted bail.
Emefiele’s lawyers argued that their client is not a flight risk and that he has no reason to flee the country. They also said that the investigation against Emefiele is politically motivated.
The judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, has adjourned the case until June 27, 2023, for ruling on Emefiele’s bail application.
In a related development, the CBN has said that it will continue to operate normally despite Emefiele’s detention. The CBN’s Deputy Governor, Edward Adamu, has been appointed as the acting governor.
The case has generated a lot of interest in Nigeria, with some people supporting Emefiele and others calling for his resignation. The case is also being closely watched by the international community.
It remains to be seen whether Emefiele will be granted bail. However, the case is likely to have a significant impact on the CBN and on Nigeria’s economy.
In its own affidavit, the OAGF dismissed the speculation that Emefiele was being held for terrorist-related crimes. It also said he was not being victimised for his involvement in politics and the botched naira redesign policy.
The OAGF said: “Issues of terrorism financing and fraudulent activities are not part of the grounds for the arrest and detention of the applicant.
“The respondents have not violated the applicant’s right to live in any way, his life is not in danger. The respondents did not subject the applicant to any judicial adjudication to warrant the allegation of denial of a fair hearing.
“With the remand order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, the said violation of the applicant’s right to freedom of movement does not arise.