· As rights group in Niger Delta calls for respect for rule of law
By Ignatius Chukwu
The court order stopping the EFCC from arresting or even investigating Rivers State governors and their officials has continued to hold sway. Groups have pointed out that there also exists a court order barring the DSS and others from arresting the CBN governor who has just been suspended.
Groups in the Niger Delta are calling for respect of rule of law in the handling of the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
One of the groups, the Niger Delta Rights Advocates (NDRA), said to be the foremost rights advocacy and political pressure group in the zone, has drawn public attention to the obvious infraction on the rights of Emefiele.
This may be sequel to the unknown whereabouts of the CBN governor.
In a statement signed in Port Harcourt by Bright Ngolo, national coordinator, NDRA, Saturday afternoon, June 10, 2023, the group said reports available to them showed that operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) stormed Emefiele’s Lagos residence at the dead of the night (2am), blindfolded him and forcefully took him away in a manner suggestive of abduction.
“As rights advocates, we should not live in a nation where all manner of gestapo style arrests will be made in the name of getting people to question them or account for perceived misdeeds.
“It is clear that Emefiele could be invited for questioning at any time since no Nigerian is above the law. However, we are also concerned with the fact that there is a judgement by a competent court in suit no GAR/CV/41/2022 instituted by the Incorporated Trustees of the Forum for Accountability and Good Leadership wherein Justice M.A. Hassan barred the DSS, Attorney General of the Federation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria, who are listed as 1st, 2bd and 5th defendants from arresting Emefiele.
“Our call for the authorities to respect the rule of law by challenging and setting aside Hassan’s judgment has nothing to do with the propriety or otherwise of his removal from office as CBN governor. The NDRA wants the due process of the law to be followed in pursuing the Emefiele case rather than painting the picture of repression of the rule of law.”
The group recalled that some State governments, particularly Rivers State, have had a judgment from the Court that barred the EFCC from arresting their officials. “Up till date, the EFCC has failed to vacate that judgment and has equally failed to investigate the monumental regime of entrenched fraud in the running of the state in the past eight years.”
NDRA thus called on all agencies of government therefore, to respect the rule of law as a confirmation that democracy has taken root in Nigeria and no institution or agency of government can just wake up and overreach it’s bounds.