46 days after his arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS), and two weeks after a Federal High Court order for his release or arraignment, the suspended Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, was finally arraigned for illegal possession of firearms and granted bail by a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The arraignment, however, became embroiled in drama as a scuffle broke out between DSS operatives and officials of the Nigerian Prisons Service over who should take custody of Emefiele after he was granted bail by Justice Nicholas Oweibo in the sum of N20 million.
Amid the tensions, DSS re-arrested Emefiele immediately after he stepped out of the courtroom. The charges against him include illegal possession of a single-barrel shotgun and 123 rounds of live ammunition without a license.
The defense counsel, Chief Joseph Daudu, SAN, sought bail for Emefiele, stating that his client had been in DSS custody for over 46 days. Though the bail was granted, DSS resisted the Prisons officials’ attempts to take custody of Emefiele as ordered by the court.
The clashes between the two agencies have raised concerns among legal professionals and civil rights advocacy groups, with some condemning the acts of impunity and lack of cooperation among government institutions. Femi Falana, SAN, expressed concerns over the disobedience of court orders, while other lawyers emphasized the need for professionalism and discipline in law enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, the Concerned Northern Forum urged DSS to respect court orders, hand over Emefiele to Nigerian Prisons Service officials, and release Alhaji Aminu Yaro, Sarkin Hausawa, Lagos, and his wife immediately, highlighting the significance of upholding the rule of law and safeguarding the country’s reputation.