Reps Probe EFCC Over Failed Attempts To Rearrest Emefiele From Prison

0
94

* Ex-CBN gov being persecuted, not prosecuted — CSO

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged failed attempts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to forcefully remove a former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, from the custody of Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) at its Kuje Custodial Centre in Abuja in defiance to a subsisting court order which granted him bail.

The House resolution on Tuesday followed the adoption of a petition on the matter from a civil society organisation (CSO), Centre for Social Justice Equity And Transparency (CESJET).

In the petition dated November 27, 2023 and addressed to the House deputy spokesman, Hon. Philip Agbese, the CSO said the actions of the security agencies were a direct affront on the rule of law and amounted to disregarding the order of a competent Court of Law.

The organisation lamented that the embattled former CBN governor was facing persecution and not prosecution.

The CSO, therefore, urged the lawmakers to intervene and stop the agencies of the state from abusing Court process and persecuting Emefiele.

The petition titled, ‘Is the EFCC Pursuing Prosecution Or Persecution?’ signed by its Executive Director, Comrade Joshua Abah, reads in part, “It has become expedient to bring to your attention, the flagrant violation and breach of the Order of Court by the EFCC regarding the prosecution of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“A High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja had on Friday 24th November, 2023, granted bail to the former CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele in the sum of 300 million naira and two sureties in like sum, who must own properties in the Maitama District of the FCT.

“The Court also ruled that Mr. Godwin Emefiele be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.

“Mr. Godwin Emefiele had initially been arraigned on a 20-count charge which was later reduced to a 6-count charge. This came after series of unsubstantiated charges by several agencies of the state, ranging from sponsoring terrorism, illegal possession of fire arms and now 20-count charges on corruption.

“After the ruling granting him bail was made, the Counsel to Mr. Godwin Emefiele informed the Court of how State-owned Security Agencies (especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Directorate of State Security Service (DSS) have been taking turns and going on rounds in arresting and re-arresting Mr. Emefiele on no grounds.

“Upon hearing this the Court invited the Counsel to the EFCC to respond. In response, the EFCC Counsel undertook on behalf of the EFCC that Mr. Emefiele shall not be re-arrested again on the same charges pending before the Court.

“While the family members of Mr. Emefiele were still at the court trying to fulfil the bail conditions, EFCC operatives were cited at Kuje Correction Centre, laying ambush to re-arrest and forcefully whisk Mr. Emefiele away when he comes out from the Correctional Centre.

“As you are aware sir, bail is a Constitutionally guaranteed right under Section 34(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended). It has become necessary to bring this to the notice of the House of Representatives so that the EFCC can be called to order.

“These actions of the security agencies are a direct affront on the rule of law and amounts to disregarding the Order of a competent Court of Law. Rather than diligently prosecute the case against Mr. Emefiele, the EFCC and its counterpart, the DSS are busy abusing Court process and persecuting a citizen who has a right to be presumed innocent until his guilt is proved before a competent Court of Law.

“These agencies of government should refrain from all such untoward practices. If there are new offences, they can file new charges and not keep haunting him perpetually and making frantic efforts to abduct him from Prison custody.

“This action undermines the rule of law and makes a mockery of our judicial system. Bail is a temporary freedom and not a permanent freedom. This conduct of the agencies of the State are all working to undermine the Renewed Hope Agenda and efforts of Mr. President, our Leader, His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.”