The House of Representatives has launched an investigation into the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) following reported unsuccessful attempts to rearrest Godwin Emefiele.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives decided to probe the reported unsuccessful efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to forcibly extract former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele from the Nigeria Correctional Service in Kuje, Abuja, in violation of a court order granting him bail.
The House resolution stemmed from accepting a petition on the issue submitted by the civil society organization (CSO) called the Centre for Social Justice Equity and Transparency (CESJET).
Dated November 27, 2023, and directed to the House deputy spokesman, Hon. Philip Agbese, the petition asserted that the actions of security agencies constituted a direct violation of the rule of law, displaying a disregard for the orders of a competent Court of Law.
The CSO expressed concern that the former CBN governor, currently embroiled in a legal matter, was being subjected to persecution rather than prosecution.
Urging lawmakers to intervene, the organization called for measures to prevent the abuse of court processes and the unjust persecution of Emefiele by state agencies.
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 Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) regarding the prosecution of 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, 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 Godwin Emefiele be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.
“Godwin Emefiele had initially been arraigned on a 20-count charge, which was later reduced to a 6-count charge. This came after a series of unsubstantiated charges by several Agencies of the State, ranging from sponsoring terrorism, illegal possession of firearms and now 20-count charges of corruption.
“After the ruling granting him bail was made, the Counsel to 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 (DSSS) have been taking turns and going on rounds in arresting and re-arresting 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 Emefiele shall not be re-arrested again on the same charges pending before the Court.
“While the family members of 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 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 the 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.”