An Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, on Tuesday, slated July 13 to rule on a fundamental rights enforcement suit that was brought before it by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele.
Justice Hamza Muazu reserved his judgement on the matter after he listened to counsel for all the parties in the suit.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/6450/23, are the Attorney General of the Federation, the Director General of State Security Service and the State Security Service.
It will be recalled that the court had last Friday, ordered that the suspended CBN governor, who has been in custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, since June 10, should be granted access to his lawyers and family members.
Specifically, Justice Muazu, held that; “The lawyers of the Applicant shall have access to the Applicant immediately and regularly at reasonable time, pending the determination of the application.”
At the resumed proceedings in the matter on Tuesday, Emefiele, through his team of lawyers led by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, prayed the court to enforce his fundamentally guaranteed rights to liberty and freedom.
The senior lawyer maintained that the continued detention of his client in custody of the security agency, amounted to gross infringement of his human rights under both the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
Daudu, SAN, insisted that the court was imbued with the requisite powers to order Emefiele’s release from the custody of the DSS.
Besides, he argued that all the allegations that have been levelled against his client were state offences that could be entertained by the FCT High Court.
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He, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss preliminary objections and counter-affidavits the Respondents filed to oppose the fundamental right enforcement action.
However, counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Tijjani Ghazali, SAN, drew the attention of the court to process his client filed to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.
While urging Justice Muazu to hands-off the case, the AGF’s lawyer argued that Emefiele’s arrest and detention by the DSS was an administrative decision of the Executive Arm of the government.
Ghazali, SAN, further insisted that going by the nature of the reliefs the Applicant is seeking, the FCT high court was not the appropriate court to hear the suit.
More so, he prayed the court to ignore Emefiele’s allegation that he was unlawfully detained, stressing that his detention was based on a valid order of an FCT Chief Magistrate court.
On his part, Mr. I. Awo, who appeared for the DSS and its Director General, equally applied for the suit to be dismissed with substantial cost awarded against the Applicant.
Awo further argued that the arrest and detention of the suspended CBN governor followed the due process of the law.
After he had listened to all the parties, Justice Muazu adjourned the matter for judgement.