…By Dorcas Funmi for TDPel Media.
The sacking and subsequent arrest of Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), by President Bola Tinubu’s administration has generated resentment and sparked a debate among legal professionals.
This controversial move by the incumbent government has prompted lawyers to express varying views on the matter.
Emefiele Suspended and Directed to Hand Over:
President Tinubu suspended Godwin Emefiele from his position and instructed him to immediately hand over the affairs of the CBN to Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), who would serve as the acting CBN Governor.
The Federal Government claimed that Emefiele’s suspension was part of its planned reformation of the financial sector.
Legal Practitioners’ Reactions:
The development has elicited reactions from legal practitioners, with some arguing that Tinubu’s actions against Emefiele violated the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act.
These individuals believe that the President breached extant laws in his decision.
However, another group of lawyers, the Section of Public Interest and Development (SPIDEL) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), expressed support for Emefiele’s suspension.
They urged the federal government to conduct a thorough investigation into his alleged role in the mismanagement of the economy.
Tinubu’s Breach of Laws:
Chief Goddy Uwazurike, a lawyer and President General of the Cultural Credibility Development Initiative, highlighted President Tinubu’s breach of extant laws and the CBN Act in his actions.
Uwazurike cited a previous judgment by the Federal High Court, which established this fact during the Sanusi Lamido Sanusi vs. Federal Government of Nigeria case under Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration.
The court had also rejected a motion ex-parte by the Department of State Service (DSS) to arrest and detain Emefiele.
Uwazurike emphasized that the appointment and removal of the CBN Governor are governed by statutory provisions, requiring Senate resolution.
Concerns for Democracy:
A consortium of lawyers, known as United Lawyers for Rule of Law Defence, expressed concern over President Tinubu’s order for the arrest of Emefiele.
They criticized the midnight invasion of Emefiele’s Lagos residence and his forceful arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS), considering it undemocratic.
The lawyers pointed out that Emefiele’s arrest, in violation of a subsisting court order, undermines the principles of democracy.
They called upon supporters of democracy to intervene and urged the DSS to release Emefiele out of respect for the court and the rule of law.
The lawyers questioned Tinubu’s commitment to the rule of law, given this incident.
The sacking and subsequent arrest of Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, by President Bola Tinubu’s administration has sparked a range of reactions and legal perspectives.
Some lawyers argue that Tinubu’s actions breached the CBN Act, while others support the suspension and advocate for an investigation into Emefiele’s alleged misconduct.
Concerns have been raised about the disregard for a court order and the impact on democracy.
These events highlight the ongoing debate and controversy surrounding the actions taken against Emefiele by the incumbent government.
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