Barristers & Solicitors
Lawyers initiate contempt proceedings against DSS, DG over Emefiele’s detention

Agroup of lawyers was at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday to initiate contempt proceedings against the Department of State Services (DSS) and its Director General (DG), Yusuf Bichi for allegedly flouting a number of court orders for the release of detained former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

They lawyers are contending that by the subsisting judgments and orders given in separate cases by Justices M. A. Hassan,  Hamza Muazu and  Bello Kawu (all of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory), the DG DSS ought to have since, directed Emefiele’s release from detention.

Led by Maxwell Opara and Ahmed Tijani, the lawyers filed Forms 48 and 49 which they said constitute the initial processes in committal proceedings.

In a document filed with the forms, the lawyers stated that Justice Hassan, in his judgment,  restrained the respondents in that suit, particularly, the DSS  from arresting, detaining, or interrogating Emefiele in respect of offences relating to terrorism financing, money laundering, round tripping, financial crimes of national security dimension, among others.

They added that in spite “of the clear and positive orders of Justice Hassan, the State Security Service still went ahead to arrest and detain Mr. Emefiele and has so detained him for well over a month, while shopping for evidence which does not exist.”

Speaking after filing the relevant documents in the court’s Registry,  Opara assured that his group of lawyers  “will pursue the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that the DSS DG is Bichi is sent to prison.”

Opara said such development will serve as a lesson to other heads of security agencies and top government officials that contempt of court and gross abuse of their offices for personal vendetta will no longer be tolerated.

He urged President Bola Tinubu to sack the DSS DG for allegedly misleading the President to think that  Emefiele committed heinous crimes against the state.

“Is it not now clear enough to Nigerians that that the SSS is persecuting Mr. Emefiele if after holding him for five weeks they can only file a ridiculous charge of possessing a validly registered pump action gun?” 

“If possessing a validly registered pump action gun is a crime worthy of being held in perpetuity, what has the SSS done to the person threatening Nigerians from a particular section of the country with an assault rifle? 

“This clearly shows that the travail of Mr. Emefiele is more for political reasons than for any other,” Opara said.