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Lawyers charge DG DSS with contempt of court for failing to release Emefiele


On Monday, about 60 constitutional and human rights lawyers filed a contempt charge against the Director General of the State Security Service, Yusuf Bichi, at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, for alleged disobedience to multiple judgments and court orders directing the release of the suspended Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, from the agency’s custody.

The contempt allegation seeks to imprison the DSS Chief in accordance with the provisions of the law on breach of a legitimate order of a competent court.

The lawyers, led by Maxwell Opara and Abdulazeez Ahmed Tijani, asked the court to imprison the DSS DG until he repented of his contempt.

According to the lawyers’ motion filed before the Court for the issuance of forms 48 and 49, which are the forms used to initiate proceedings to commit a contemnor to prison, the DG DSS should have released Emefiele from detention based on the judgments and orders of Justice M. A. Hassan, Justice Hamza Muazu, and Justice Bello Kawu.

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The lawyers testified in the affidavit in support of the application that Justice M. A. Hassan barred the respondents in that suit, specifically the State Security Service, from arresting, detaining, or interrogating Emefiele for offenses such as terrorism financing, money laundering, round tripping, and financial crimes of national security dimension, among others.

They said that despite Justice Hassan’s explicit and unambiguous directives, the State Security Service arrested and detained Emefiele and held him for more than a month while looking for proof.

Maxwell Opara, speaking to journalists after filing their processes at the Registry of the Court, stated that the group will pursue the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that Bichi is imprisoned as a deterrent to other heads of security agencies and top government officials that contempt of court and gross abuse of office for personal vendetta will no longer be tolerated.

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Opara also urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to remove Bichi from his position as DG SSS for allegedly misleading the President into believing Emefiele had committed terrible crimes against the state, only for him to suddenly file a charge of unauthorized possession of firearms.

“Is it not obvious to Nigerians that the SSS is persecuting Emefiele if, after holding him for 5 weeks, they can only charge him with possessing a pump action gun?” Opara inquired.

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“If possessing a validly registered pump action gun is a crime worthy of perpetual imprisonment, what has the SSS done to the person threatening Nigerians from a specific region of the country with an assault rifle?” This plainly demonstrates that Emefiele’s travail is motivated primarily by political considerations.”

“Assuming there was no valid court order because the DSS was unable to find any evidence against Emefiele, he was entitled to his release, and how much more now that three different courts have ordered his release, the SSS is still holding him in unlawful detention and violating all of his rights, which is why we will ensure Yusuf Magaji Bichi ends up being committed to prison,” the statement reads.

According to the lawyer.


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