Unlawful detention: Court fines Nigerian gov’t N100m for infringing on Emefiele’s rights

A FEDERAL Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has fined the Nigerian Government one hundred million naira for infringing on the rights of a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

The court ruled that Emefiele’s detention without charge or trial violated his constitutional rights.

The court joined the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the N100 million fine.

It also prohibited the Federal Government or its representatives from arresting or detaining the former CBN chief without a court order.

The ruling was made in a fundamental human rights lawsuit by Emefiele, after spending weeks in the State Security Services’ (SSS) custody.

Emefiele asked the court to stop the respondents from arresting or detaining him.

He also demanded N1 billion in damages.

Delivering his verdict on Monday, January 8, the presiding judge, Olukayode Adeniyi, barred the Federal Government and its representatives from re-arresting or holding Emefiele without a court order.

“Also, a sum of N100 million only is hereby awarded in favour of the applicant against the first and fourth respondents jointly as damages for the unlawful violation of his fundamental right to his personal liberty.

“Without prejudice to the powers of the court with respect to the criminal trial the applicant is currently facing at the High Court of the FCT, the respondents are hereby restrained either by themselves, their officers, agents, or any person acting on their behalf from further re-arresting or detaining the applicants without an order of a court of competent jurisdiction,” the judge stated. 

Adeniyi said it was necessary to stop arresting people before probing them for alleged wrongdoing.

The ICIR reported how President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele shortly after assuming office and directed him to hand over the affairs of his office to the deputy governor operations directorate, Folashodun Shonubi.

He was arrested shortly after his suspension by the SSS and detained.

However, the SSS finally arraigned him for alleged illegal gun possession before the Federal High Court in Lagos on July 25.

He was arraigned on two counts of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

A judge, Nicholas Oweibo, released him on a N20 million bail, with one surety in like sum.






     

     

    On Tuesday, August 15, the Federal Government filed fresh charges against him in Abuja after re-arresting him at the premises of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

    On Wednesday, November 22, a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, granted him N300 million bail and two sureties in like sum.

    He was freed by the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja on Friday, December 22, after meeting his bail condition.

    The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) spokesperson, Abubakar Umar, confirmed Emefiele’s release to The ICIR on Saturday, December 23.

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