By John Ikani
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, sitting at Maitama, has directed the Federal Government to compensate the sum of N100 million to the embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele for infringing upon his fundamental rights.
In a ruling delivered on Monday by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, the court declared as unlawful and unconstitutional the extended confinement of Emefiele in the custody of security agencies, without a fair trial.
The court held that the Federal Government, through its agencies, blatantly violated Emefiele’s rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Consequently, it barred the Federal Government and its agents from re-arresting or detaining him again without a court order.
This judgment stems from a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the former CBN boss to challenge the legality of his prolonged detention in the Department of State Services, DSS custody.
Emefiele, among other things, sought damages to the tune of N1 billion.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele from office as the head of the apex bank on June 9.
He was subsequently arrested at his Lagos residence by DSS operatives.
Emefiele has faced a two-count charge of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition before the Federal High Court in Lagos, as well as a corruption charge filed against him before the Abuja High Court by the Federal Government.
The former CBN boss was later transferred to the EFCC, which on November 28, 2023, arraigned him on a six-count charge related to alleged involvement in procurement fraud.
Although Emefiele spent an initial 151 days in custody of security agencies, he was eventually granted bail worth N300 million on December 23.
The trial court stipulated that he must produce two sureties who are Abuja residents with landed property within the Maitama District.
The defendant fulfilled these conditions after spending about 34 days in Kuje prison.