Lawyers accuse the DG DSS of contempt of court for failing to release Emefiele

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A contempt charge was filed against Yusuf Bichi, the director general of the State Security Service, on Monday at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, over alleged disobedience to numerous judgments and court orders directing the release of suspended Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele from the agency’s custody.

The DSS Chief is accused of violating a legitimate court order, and the contempt allegation seeks to send him to jail in accordance with the law’s provisions on such violations.

Maxwell Opara and Abdulazeez Ahmed Tijani, two attorneys leading the legal team, asked the court to imprison the DSS DG until he absolves himself of the contempt.

The lawyers argued in their motion submitted to the court for the issuance of forms 48 and 49, which are used to start the process of sending a criminal to prison, that the DG DSS was required to release Emefiele from custody in light of the judgments and orders of Justices M. A. Hassan, Hamza Muazu, and Bello Kawu.

The State Security Service was specifically prohibited by Justice M. A. Hassan from arresting, detaining, or questioning Emefiele for offenses related to financing terrorism, money laundering, round-tripping, financial crimes of national security dimension, among other offenses, according to the lawyers’ affidavit in support of the application.

They claimed that the State Security Service still went ahead and arrested Emefiele and imprisoned him for well over a month while looking for proof, despite the explicit and affirmative directives of Justice Hassan.

The group will pursue the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that Bichi is sent to prison to serve as a deterrent to other heads of security agencies and top government officials that contempt of court and gross abuse of offices for personal vendetta will no longer be tolerated, Maxwell Opara said in a statement to reporters after filing their processes at the Registry of the Court.

Opara also urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to remove Bichi from his position as DG SSS immediately because he reportedly deceived the President into believing Emefiele had committed terrible crimes against the State before later filing a charge of illegally possessing firearms.

If the SSS can only bring a nonsensical accusation of owning a pump action gun against Emefiele after keeping him for five weeks, is it not obvious to Nigerians that they are persecuting him? Opar enquired.

“If owning a legally registered pump action gun is a felony deserving of life in prison, what has the SSS done to the guy threatening Nigerians with an assault rifle from a certain region of the country? This demonstrates unequivocally that Emefiele’s struggles stem more from politics than from any other factors.

“Assuming there was no valid court order since the DSS had been 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 make sure Yusuf Magaji Bichi is ultimately committed to prison,” the attorney said.

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