GOVERNANCE BY WITCH-HUNT: It is clearly a vendetta mission. There’s no other reason why a former bank MD and subsisting governor of a country’s central bank would be kept in detention for 60 days without bail and without serious process of litigation.
The clamping of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) into detention since the inception of the Bola Tinubu administration and the near abrogation of the powers of the judiciary in the matter is a definitive signpost of the authoritarian nature of President Tinubu. To think that he’s fighting for democracy across our northern border. Emefiele’s extended detention without clear charges, proper trial and without allowing bail severally granted by the courts of the land is a travesty of all that is just and democratic.
This is governance by persecution and witch-hunt.
It’s however a tragedy when statecraft is premised on such primordial pedestals. The implications of actions like these may seem innocuous today but they would stand tomorrow as chief references and unassailable precedents. Besides, it’s not only Emefiele that’s being abused here, the judiciary is being debased and the DSS a crucial intelligence agency is being damaged in pursuit of a vendetta. This is why this manner of brazen illegality, abuse of processes and blatant injustice must be eschewed.
Here are 20 reasons that prove Emefiele is being persecuted:
■ One: About half a dozen different courts of the land have granted Emefiele bail or ordered that he be set free, but he’s still being held by the Presidency through the instrumentality of the Department of State Services (DSS) since June 10, 2023, exactly 60 days today.
■ Two: In a supposed preliminary investigations by the DSS in February 2023, he was accused of financing terrorism and engaging in financial crimes bordering on security breach. But when he was finally arraigned in court on Tuesday, July 25th, he was merely charged with unlawful possession of a shotgun and some rounds of ammunition.
■ Three: Here, the DSS is obviously being goaded into committing perjury by falsely accusing a suspect on oath. DSS is currently suffering unmitigated institutional abuse unbeknownst to the Service.
■ Four: They took him to court yet they went back door to another court to procure an anticipatory order against the court they took him to. So the DSS took Emefiele to court armed with another court order in its back pocket. When therefore the judge ruled that the accused be remanded in the facility of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), until his bail was perfected, a disgraceful duel ensued right there on the court premises between armed DSS and NCS personnel over custody of the accused. Why such desperation by DSS? This is what a once elite intel corps has been reduced to.
■ Five: President Tinubu was sworn in on 29th of May, Emefiele was suspended from office on 9th June and was picked up from his Lagos home on 10th June and hauled to Abuja by DSS.
DSS returned to his Lagos home on June 15th to search and unearth a shotgun in the suspect’s absence. This means that DSS picked up Emefiele first before the frantic search for evidence to nail him. What happened to the preliminary investigation and the terrorism financing charge against Emefiele?
■ Six: If this is not a witch-hunt, after 60 days of ‘investigation’ and nothing more incriminating than a ‘toy gun’ is found on him, why is Emefiele still being held? Why the special interest on Emefiele?
■ Seven: The Buhari administration is today touted as the most brazenly corrupt in Nigeria’s annals yet not a single appointee or public official in that era has been invited for questioning by the DSS except for Emefiele. It is public knowledge that former ministers like Hadi Sirika, Umar Farouq and Lai Mohammed, among numerous others committed grand larceny in office, yet not one of them has been invited by the DSS or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Many of them are cavorting on the beaches of Dubai and in salons of southern France with their loot.
■ Eight: When nothing could be found to hang Emefiele after combing his homes and service records, a forensic audit has been hurriedly set up to turn CBN inside out. But centres of atrocious corruption like the NNPC, NIMASA, NPA, CUSTOMS, IMMIGRATION, to name a few have been ignored and allowed to go on gaily in their night businesses.
■ Nine: For eight years, the aviation ministry had budgets not accounted for and a new national carrier was promised and for eight years, but not an office was opened. Why is the aviation ministry not under probe?
■ Ten: Hajia Hadiza Bala-Mohammed ran the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) like an Indian bazaar. She was among the very few fired and probed in Buhari time. Evidence of monumental graft was unearthed. But Ms Bala-Mohammed has been reappointed a special adviser by the incumbent president. Why is Emefiele’s case different?
■ Eleven: Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq ran a most bogus and undocumented ministry of humanitarian affairs, reneging to give account for four years. The so-called national social register she compiled and applied through her time has just been trashed as rubbish not fit for use by this administration. Yet she’s out there having the summer of her life. DSS dares not call her in! Only Emefiele is a sinner!
■ Twelve: In their blind pursuit of vendetta, Emefiele’s oppressors are joyfully breaking every law of the land to deny him basic rights as a citizen and even as a human being.
■Thirteen: The most violent example of abuse of the judiciary is this particular Abuja court ruling: the Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja made a definitive order on the Emefiele drama on December 29th, 2022. Justice M. A. Hassan ruling, handed the DSS (and indeed any other agency of state) a restraining order not to arrest, detain, breach, proceed against or interfere with Emefiele’s personal liberty and freedom of movement, or take any other action against him in connection with any other allegation, without recourse to this order from the date of this judgment. DSS is above the law.
■ Fourteen: It has become obvious that the genesis of the Emefiele pummel lies in the 2022 naira redesign policy of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is the main reason why Emefiele is being hounded today. They know we know but they don’t care. Impunity is their surname.
■ Fifteen: Those bent on crucifying Emefiele today are quite aware that he was under the command and authority of an ‘Executive President’ who appointed him and who could easily suspend him as the incumbent has quickly suspended Emefiele now, not minding that his is a tenured appointment.
■ Sixteen: Emefiele’s traducers know for sure that he was only a pawn in the APC succession chessboard. What manner of man would kill a mere messenger?
■ Seventeen: Emefiele as CBN governor can only advise the president. If there’s an irreconcilable difference in opinion between the president and an appointee, the appointee must yield to the president or resign. Buhari has never disclaimed the naira redesign policy. In fact, when the Buhari finance minister publicly raised a disclaimer over the naira redesign policy, the Presidency promptly reprimanded her that the CBN governor was not answerable to her.
■ Eighteen: It was common knowledge that for reasons best known to him, President Buhari wanted to vastly reduce the ability of politicians to rig the election via vote-buying. It is in public records that Buhari wanted some measure of freeness and fairness in the last election. He said so much. It was on this premise that he initiated the naira redesign. It was not an accident. It is, however, noteworthy that the policy had equal effects on all the candidates and all the parties. Why then is the APC candidate who incidentally was declared winner of the contest so bitter till date as to swear to hunt down Emefiele exclusively like mere game?
■ Nineteen: It’s said that winners are often magnanimous in victory, but not so this President. Bitterness and vendetta seem the order of the day. Whatever the case may be, a presidential pardon ought to have been availed Emefiele by now as a mark of statesmanship considering that no serious misdemeanor or fraud could be pinned on him.
■ Twenty: The streak of meanness and vindictiveness on display here repudiates the fact that Emefiele was a very successful banker before he was appointed CBN governor. Emefiele was also a key member of the Buhari administration and shares a good chunk of credit in whatever economic success Buhari and the APC may lay claim to.
In summary, there are many more reasons to adduce but suffice to say that no government distracted by vendetta and witch-hunt succeeds.
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