Detention of Emefiele, Kanu, and Bawa: DSS Clarifies Legal Basis and Compliance with Court Orders

Detention of Emefiele, Kanu, and Bawa: DSS Clarifies Legal Basis and Compliance with Court Orders

The Department of State Services (DSS) has addressed accusations of disobedience to court orders in the cases of Godwin Emefiele, suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and Abdulrasheed Bawa, suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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In an opinion piece titled ‘DSS And Accusations Of Disobedience To Court Orders – Setting The Records Right,’ DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, emphasized that the detention of these individuals is backed by court orders and complies with legal requirements.

Emefiele Case Timeline and Legal Actions

In 2022, the DSS began investigating Godwin Emefiele on suspicions of terrorism financing and money laundering.

The DSS applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja for his arrest and detention, but the Chief Judge rejected the order, stating that an order was unnecessary for investigation or arrest.

Emefiele later obtained a restraining order from Justice MA Hassan of the FCT High Court against the DSS, which the DSS adhered to, refraining from arresting or detaining him.

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However, Emefiele was suspended as the CBN Governor in June 2023 based on new information regarding criminal infractions.

The DSS arrested and detained him under a magisterial order.

Following this, Justice Hamza Mu’azu of the FCT High Court ordered Emefiele’s release or prosecution within seven days, acknowledging the DSS’s legal right to arrest and investigate him.

The DSS promptly complied with this order and charged Emefiele for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Justice Bello Kawu of the same FCT High Court also ordered his release or prosecution within 48 hours, but the DSS had already followed the initial seven-day order.

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In adherence to the rule of law, Emefiele was arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court in Lagos for illegal possession of arms and ammunition.

The DSS had previously issued a statement addressing a confrontation between its staff and Nigerian Correctional Service officials during court proceedings.

While the investigation into this incident is ongoing, preliminary findings indicate troubling actions by certain public officials.

Correcting Misinformation and Legal Proceedings

In response to accusations of DSS non-compliance with court orders, Afunanya clarifies that the DSS applied for an Ex Parte Order from the FCT High Court to detain Emefiele for 14 days.

Although a lawyer appeared in court for Emefiele, the judge withdrew the motion at the DSS’s request, guided by Section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which recognizes the Magistrate Court’s competence for custody orders during investigations.

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The DSS followed the appropriate steps according to the court’s guidance.

Some misrepresentations of these events have emerged in the media, aiming to tarnish the DSS’s reputation.

Defense of DSS and Rule of Law

The opinion piece addresses sustained media criticism of the DSS’s compliance with court orders, emphasizing that the Service remains committed to upholding the rule of law.

The DSS asserts that it is committed to its mandate as a stabilizing force for democracy and national sovereignty, in the same vein as agencies like the CIA and FBI.

The piece defends the DSS’s reputation against insinuations and misinformation, urging critics to approach its actions with more discernment and accurate research.

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The DSS maintains its unwavering stance on respect for the rule of law and the judiciary.

It defends its actions as being within legal bounds and expresses the need for constructive criticism and transparent communication.

The opinion piece concludes by urging those seeking justice not to intimidate judges or hinder law enforcement efforts, asserting the DSS’s commitment to respecting the law and the judiciary’s role in delivering justice.

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