A human rights advocacy group and Civil Society Organisation, Coalition of Civil Society for Defence of Human Rights has demanded the release of the embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission’s custody.
Daily Post reports that Yusuf Maje, Convener of the Coalition of Civil Society for Defence of Human Rights, made this known at a ‘Free Emefiele Rally’ held in Abuja on Thursday.
Recall that the Department of State Security freed Emefiele on October 25 after being arrested on June 9, 2023.
However, immediately after his release from DSS’s custody, EFCC detained him.
Reacting to the development at the ‘Free Emefiele Rally’, Maje said Emefiele’s travails in the hands of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration are a witch hunt.
The group described the arrest of Emefiele by EFCC as unreasonable and a show of overzealousness.
It added that Tinubu should release Emefiele or charge him to court within seven days.
“We submit that his further arrest amounts to double jeopardy. It is overzealousness by EFCC and a waste of government-scarce resources to subject an innocent citizen to such an ordeal just “to teach him a lesson”. Public members are worried that EFCC has allowed itself to be used as an instrument of oppression rather than the anti-corruption agency that it ought to be.
“We state authoritatively that the tossing of Godwin Emefiele like a football in the field from one government agency to another in the name of investigation is unacceptable and will be frontally resisted.
“We reject this Gestapo way of doing things because Nigeria is no longer under a military junta where the rights of innocent citizens can be abruptly suspended. Granted that President Tinubu is doing everything possible to rid the country of corruption and reposition the same on the path of economic growth and sustainable development through his Renewed Hope Agenda.
“On a final note, we hereby demand that Godwin Emefiele should be released from EFCC detention or charged to court Within the Next seven days from today. In the unlikely event that this demand is not met, then the Federal Government will have the overwhelming population of our Coalition to contend with across the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the Guardian Editorial of today titled, Emefiele: Prosecute, don’t enter into plea bargaining, the Guardian concluded that “The fact that the controversy over Emefiele’s prosecution has lingered for about a year without any precise direction on the part of the government is worrisome. Also, his continuous detention without a proper trial constitutes an infringement to his constitutional right to personal liberty. It is about time the government stops politicising the Emefiele matter and try him openly in court, if he has indeed committed any offence”.