A coalition of national interest defenders comprising lawyers and rights movements has condemned the secret move to tag Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as a terrorist and subsequently arraign him before a court under Section 66 of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022.
The coalition, comprising Buhari Legacy Defenders, Arewa Youth Consultative Movement, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Youth Movement, African Centre for Justice and Human rights, Ethnic youth Leaders Political Parties Chairmen Forum, Lawyers in Defence of Economic rights and Justice staged a protest in Abuja on Monday.
The group marched to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation where they submitted a petition against the alleged action by the Department of State Services (DSS) and called for the sack of Yusuf Bichi, director general of the service.
They also submitted a similar letter to the office of the President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and Inspector General of Police among others.
Addressing a press conference, Tochukwu Ohazuruike, the convener of the coalition, said the DSS had secretly filed a motion in court and accused the CBN governor of terrorism financing and other economic crimes.
Ohazuruike said Emefiele was being hunted down by powerful forces due the recent monetary policy including the cash withdrawal limit policy introduced by the CBN.
He said: “Fellow Nigerians, we have firmly in our custody genuine hardcore evidence of a plot by the State Security Services to frame the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele for terrorism financing, abduct him and keep him away for at least 60 days in solitary confinement which will pave way for the forceful removal of the CBN Governor from office and destabilise the President Buhari backed CBN economic stability and reform efforts especially the new currency redesign and cash withdrawal limit policies which in the immediate will help achieve President Buhari’s promise of a credible election in 2023.
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“It has taken us some time, diligent and careful monitoring and resources to discover that on the said 7th December, 2022, a Motion was filed in the FCT High Court with the major target of getting the CBN Governor out of office. The Motion had suit number M/294/2022. Now listen careful to this. On the same 7th December, 2022 another Exparte application was secretly filed at the Federal High Court Abuja this time directly by the State Security Service.
“The suit is between the State Security Service v Godwin Emefiele. Our intelligence which discovered this shocking development showed the suit was filed at the court without disclosing the full identity of Mr. Emefiele to the Court and working on the premise that the court would grant an order for the Service to arrest and detain Mr. Emefiele for a minimum of 60 days hiding under section 66 of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022.
“Nigerians, heads of security agencies and our dear President Muhammadu Buhari let me repeat myself again assuming anyone missed the point we are making. That the State Security Service, an agency of Federal Government secretly approached the Federal High Court Abuja, and filed an exparte application against Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor where they accused him of being a terrorist.
“It is utterly shocking and shameful for the SSS to fabricate such bogus charges only in a bid to force an innocent man out of office. We have with us the Suit number which at this moment I will read it out, so that Nigerians and Mr. President can send their people to rush to the Federal High Court to get their copies and see this evil with their own eyes, the suit number is FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022.
“The State Security Service made grave allegations including Terrorism Financing against the Central Bank Governor and other allegations we were informed were termed as economic crimes of national security dimension. Hence they prayed under Section 66 of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022, to the Court to grant an order for the arrest and detention of Mr. Emefiele for 60 days.
“By that law, the 60 days detention can be renewed for another 60 days or until investigation is concluded. Such a person can only have access to a government appointed lawyer or doctor and no one else and shall be held incommunicado.
“It is shocking that the Director General of the State Security Services on the 7th of December, 2022 officially accused a man of Terrorism yet allowed that same man to travel with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria outside the shores of our country where his ability to protect the President is limited.
Ohazuruike, who alleged that the purpose of the entire plot was for political and financial gains, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately intervene in the matter.
“It must be stated clearly that the entire purpose of this dastardly plot was for political and financial benefit. The people in the plot are really very strong people and indeed the high and mighty in the government and in our country.
“We call on our dear President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately remove Yusuf Magaji Bichi from office as director general of the State Security Service and order his immediate arrest for undermining the authority of the President, exposing him to risk and grave danger of unimaginable proportion Bichi was fully aware of the President’s approval of the cash withdrawal limit policy yet he yielded himself to be used to thwart the policy.
“How could an appointee of the President so brazenly undermine the authority of the President and carry out actions to destabilize the government? We are still in awe why the head of a security agency like the State Security Service would be against a policy that will help to fight banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, bribery and corruption, money laundering, vote buying, and other economic crimes,” he said.