A Lagos-based lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, has condemned the conduct of Department of State Services (DSS) operatives, who on Tuesday engaged in a scuffle for the rearrest of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
The rearrest came after DSS operatives got physical with officials of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), which the Federal High Court in Lagos State had ordered to remand Emefiele until the conditions of his bail set at N20 million had been fulfilled.
“As a Nigerian, not just as a lawyer, I found what happened in court today very outrageous and indefensible,” Ogunye stated during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“That act affronts our sense of decency. It affronts our sense of what is basic and what is acceptable in a court of law and its prescience. It’s unacceptable.”
The DSS first arrested Emefiele on June 10, saying the embattled central banker was in its custody “for some investigative reasons”.
After several legal fireworks by Emefiele’s counsel challenging his prolonged detention by the DSS, the security agency bowed to pressure on July 13, announcing that the suspended apex bank chief had been charged to court.
On Tuesday, he was arraigned on two counts of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, to which he pleaded not guilty.
The court had granted Emefiele bail and ordered that he be remanded at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre, pending the perfection of his bail conditions.
“Ordinarily, what should have followed is that the Correctional Service would take custody of him because there would have been a remand or detention warrant issued by the court directed to the deputy controller of Ikoyi Prisons to take custody of the person of Emefiele and not the DSS,” Ogunye said.
“There shouldn’t have been any reason therefore for the DSS to intervene at that point to effect his arrest.”
The legal expert argued that in the event that the DSS had a reasonable ground or pretext for rearresting him in connection with other offences that the public might not know of and to which effect no disclosure had been made, the attorneys of the security agency should have informed the court while that bail was being considered.