60 Lawyers storm court, file contempt charge against, DSS, DG, Bichi for disobeying court order to release Emefiele

About 60 Constitutional and Human Right lawyers, Monday, stormed the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to commence committal proceedings against the Director General of the State Security Service, Mr Yusuf Magaji Bichi, for what they described as violation of multiple judgments and orders of court directing the release of former Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele from custody of the agency.

The consortium of lawyers led by Mr. Maxwell Opara and Barrister Ahmed Tijani, prayed the court to commit DSS DG to prison until he purges himself of the contempt.

In their Motion filed before the Court for the issuing of form 48 and form 49 which are the forms to commence proceedings to commit a contemnor to prison, the lawyers said by the judgments and orders of Justice M. A. Hassan, Justice Hamza Muazu and Justice Bello Kawu, the DG DSS ought to have released Mr. Godwin Emefiele from detention.

In the affidavit in support of the application, the consortium deposed to the fact Hon. Justice M. A. Hassan restrained the respondents in that suit, particularly, the State Security Service from arresting, detaining, or interrogating Mr. Emefiele for offences connected to terrorism financing, money laundering, round tripping, financial crimes of national security dimension etc.

It is their deposition that despite the clear and positive orders of Justice Hassan, the State Security Service still went ahead to arrest and detain Mr. Emefiele and has so detained him for well over a month while shopping for evidence which does not exist.

While addressing newsmen after filing their processes at the Registry of the Court, Mr. Maxwell Opara said the group will pursue the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that Mr. Bichi is sent to prison so as to serve as a deterrent to other heads of security agencies and top government officials that contempt of court and gross abuse of their offices for personal vendetta will no longer be tolerated.

Mr. Opara also called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to immediately relieve Mr. Yusuf Bichi of his appointment as DG SSS for having obviously misled the President that Mr. Emefiele had committed heinous crimes against the State only for him to now file a ridiculous charge of possession of a validly registered pump action rifle against Mr. Emefiele.

“Is it not clear enough to Nigerians that that the SSS is persecuting Mr. Emefiele if after holding him for 5 weeks they can only file a ridiculous charge of possessing a validly registered pump action gun?” Mr. Opara asked.

He continued “If possessing a validly registered pump action gun is a crime worthy of being held in perpetuity, what has the SSS done to the person threatening Nigerians from a particular section of the country with an assault rifle? This clearly shows the travail of Mr. Emefiele is more for political reasons than for any other.”

He concluded by questioning that assuming there was no valid court order, since the DSS had been unable to find any evidence against Mr. Emefiele, he was entitled to his release and how much more now that three different courts have ordered his release, the SSS is still holding him in unlawful detention and violating all his rights, hence the reason why thee consortium will ensure Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi ends up being committed to prison.