Court to deliver judgment in Emefiele’s fundamental rights Jan 8

Former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of an FCT High Court on Monday fixed Jan 8, to deliver judgment in the enforcement of fundamental rights suit filed by the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele.

The judge fixed the date after listening to arguments canvassed for and against the suit by parties .

He equally reserved ruling in the preliminary objections filed by all the four respondents in the suit, marked FCT/HC/CV/040/2023

The embattled Emefiele had dragged the Federal Government, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Commission before the court to enforce his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom of movement.

Emefiele sought a declaration of the court that his continued detention by the agency of the first and second respondents since June 10, 2023 and subsequent transfer to the custody of the third and fourth respondents on October 26, 2023 without being arraigned in court is unlawful.

He said the respondents in deviance of several valid subsisting court orders for his release amounts to a grave violation of his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

He, therefore, among others sought an injunction restraining the respondents from further arresting and or further detaining him up on his release by the court without proffering a criminal charge against him.

He also sought damages of N1 billion in his favour for the violation of his fundamental rights.

Earlier, counsel for Emefiele, Mathew Burkaa SAN, told the court that the applicant was detained for 151 days contrary to the law stipulating 48 hours.

He therefore urged the court to enter judgment and award damages in his client’s favour.

Burkaa submitted 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 showed more.

He claimed 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.

According to him, this is enough basis for the court to enter judgment in Emefiele’s favour, submitting that every Nigerian deserved the court’s protection.

He further argued that Emefiele’s rights had been violated and the he was apprehensive of being further arrested going by the activities of the respondents.

The applicant’s further harassment by agents of the respondents, Burkaa submitted, may eventually affect Emefiele’s life.

Responding, counsel for the first and second respondents, Oyin Koleosho, SAN urged the court to dismissed 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.

Hecsaid that Emefiele was transferred to the custody of EFCC on Oct, 26, while the application was filed on October 31.

He added that between that period there was no contact or communication between Emefiele and the deponent.

He further submitted that in Emefiele’s further and better affidavit, there was no where reference was made to the time, date and venue where the applicant and the deponent met.

He submitted that this rendered the deposition incompetent.

Counsel for the third and fourth respondents, Farouk Abdullah, prayed the court to dismiss the suit for being misconceived and brought in bad fate.

He informed the court that Emefiele was brought to EFCC custody on Oct. 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).

He added that the DSS ought to have been brought into the suit.

Earlier, counsels for the respondents had argued their respective preliminary objection against the suit brought before the court by the Emefiele. (NAN)