By Nnanke Harry Willie
Minutes after President Tinubu announced the suspension of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, unconfirmed news filtered out that the embattled governor has been arrested by the Operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS
Some news outlets claimed “competent sources” as saying that “the suspended CBN boss was picked-up immediately after his suspension was approved by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu”
According to the “unnamed sources”, the DSS had previously gone to court to secure an order to effect Emefiele’s arrest for alleged terrorism financing. Meanwhile, when contacted, the Spokesperson of the Service Dr Peter Afunnaya declined comment.
The Emefiele dilemma is exactly the same as what a certain tribe faced during the recent elections in Lagos. Fake, fictitious and nebulous charges were heaped upon this tribe. It was repeated over and over again in a well-coordinated and orchestrated media and political campaign that soon enough, took a life of its own. the lies, hate and attrition was picked up hook, line, and sinker by a motley crowd of passive ‘tribal champions’ and all hell was lt loose.
Strangely, even those who had long-time friendships and family relationships with members of this vilified tribe were seen vociferously taking down, castigating and cheering verbal, psychological and physical attacks on members of this tribe. A spokesman of the then-candidate of Bola Tinubu, infamously came out to celebrate the crude violent suppression of members of this tribe during the March 18, 2023 election, boasting that “we taught them a lesson!”
Unfortunately, Godwin Emefiele became the fall guy of Buhari’s rudderless government long before the elections. While Emefiele held fort on the monetary side of things in the economy, he was forced to push out some fiscal-related policies to mitigate the damage wrought on the economy by the bad behaviour of the Buhari government and citizens.
Strangely, rather than receive praise for his interventions, Emefiele was further demonised. These include the 48 banned items from accessing the official dollar window, the CBN Rice Anchor-Borrowers’ programme, the CBN digital banking and repayments drive, and the Naira change policy foisted on the CBN by Buhari and so on.
A particular political party chose to take aim at Emefiele and on him they laid everything terrible about Nigeria. He was blamed for the woes of the naira, blamed for the decadent economy, blamed for Dangote’s success with his refinery, blamed for fuel scarcity, blamed for daring to have perceived political ambitions, and blamed for oil theft among others. Emefiele became a metaphor that represented the Buhari failures. How unfortunate.
As the 2023 election cycle progressed, the DSS suddenly began to make spirited attempts to arrest and prosecute Emefiele over alleged terrorism-financing allegations. Emefiele sought protection from the courts. the DSS was invited to make its case and failed to do so spectacularly.
Emefiele thus remained a free man, until perhaps yesterday.
The posers however would be “So, what has changed since the last court ruling on the DSS attempt to arrest and prosecute Emefiele?
A Thisday report said “Justice M. A. Hassan of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in December 2022 restrained the State Security Service (SSS) also known as the Department of State Services (DSS) and four others from arresting or detaining the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele over alleged trumped up charges bordering on terrorism financing.
“The judge held that the DSS, “acted wrongfully and illegally in instigating President Muhammadu Buhari against Mr. Godwin Emefiele in respect of the exercise of his statutory duty relating to the issuance of monetary policies and directives in the interest of the National Security and economy.”
Justice Hassan further declared that in view of the ruling of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho in SSS Vs Mr. Godwin Emefiele in suit no FHC/ ABJ/CS/ 2255/2022 delivered on December 15, 2022, any continuous harassment, intimidation, threats, restriction and free movement, abuse of right of office, surreptitious moves to arrest, and humiliation of Mr. Godwin Emefiele over trumped up allegations of terrorism financing and fraudulent practices etc, by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents and their offices were “vindictive, unwarranted, abrasive, oppressive and same constitute a flagrant breach of his rights to personal liberty, dignity and human person and illegal and unconstitutional.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents, their agents, servants and all officers under their command from instigating the arrest or arresting, interrogating and detaining Mr. Godwin Emefiele in respect of any matter or policy decision on the economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any connected purposes.”
Again, it is important to ask, has the DSS, received a superior court ruling setting aside this injunction?
It is necessary to stress here that Godwin Emefiele must be answerable to the law if indeed he has broken any. It would however be reprehensible to be buffeted with so much vitriol, propaganda and harassment if all he is going through is a result of the sins and machinations of mean-spirited politicians and compromised institutions.
Emefiele is leaving behind a CBN that remains one of the sanest and most patriotic national institutions and, undoubtedly, all a new CBN governor needs to soar is a government with a granite vision and commitment to economic greatness to handle the fiscal side of the economy and deal with unfettered corruption across the land.
Emefiele may not be getting the praise he deserves, but he should never be denied his justice as well!