FG to Pay 100M to Emefiele for Unlawful Detention-Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has imposed a fine of N100 million against the federal government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for unlawfully detaining the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the judgment, the EFCC stated that it would approach the Court of Appeal to seek its reversal, emphasizing that Emefiele’s detention was in accordance with a valid court order.
In the detailed judgment, Justice Adeniyi not only declared Emefiele’s detention by the Department of State Services (DSS) and EFCC as illegal and unconstitutional but also barred the federal government and its agencies from re-arresting, detaining, or harassing him without obtaining a court-issued warrant.
The court questioned the credibility of the remand order obtained from a Chief Magistrate Court in Wuse, Abuja, stating that it lacked probative value due to discrepancies in dates and certification. Justice Adeniyi criticized the EFCC’s actions of obtaining a detention order while charges were already filed before the high court, deeming it an abuse of court process and a breach of the defendant’s rights.
Emphasizing the need for a fair legal process, the judge decried the practice of arresting and detaining individuals before completing investigations, stating that such actions run contrary to the law. He asserted that suspicion alone should not be a basis for infringing on citizens’ rights.
Justice Adeniyi highlighted the prolonged detention of Emefiele, which exceeded five months, as a violation of the reasonable time frame for holding a citizen without trial. He suggested that the federal government should have granted administrative bail instead of keeping him in custody, especially after withdrawing charges filed against him in a Federal High Court in Lagos.
RELATED POST:Emefiele Leaves Kuje Prison
The court noted that Emefiele’s suspension as CBN governor on June 9, 2023, led to his arrest and detention the following day. It questioned the necessity for incarceration during the investigation, especially when the government failed to produce evidence that Emefiele posed a threat to the process.
Consequently, Justice Adeniyi issued an injunction order preventing further re-arrest, detention, or harassment of Emefiele without a court order. The federal government and the EFCC were directed to pay N100 million in compensation for the damages caused by his illegal detention.
Emefiele had initiated the legal action against the federal government, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, and the commission, alleging a breach of his fundamental rights. His lawyer argued that the former CBN governor was detained for 151 days, well beyond the stipulated 48-hour period, and urged the court to award damages in his favor.
For VOTP NEWS justice has been manifestly done, accused persons should not be adjudged Guilty even before determination of their guilt.
FG to Pay 100M to Emefiele for Unlawful Detention