By Suleiman Umaru
This is not the best of times for Godwing Emefiele, the Delta state born Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor who appars to have played into the hands of Yusuf Magaji Bichi led Department of State Service, DSS, over allegations of terrorism Financing and fraudulent that was said to have been perpetrated while in office.
Unknown to him, the Nigerian secret police had begun preliminary investigations against him which was very revealing and damning. The former All Progressive Congress, APC , Presidential Candidate, who claimed that his friends paid N100 million to collect the party intention and Nomination Forms, based on the DSS, findings had accused him of being involved in ‘’economic crimes of national security dimension’’.
Aware that Bichi and his men, are determined to arrest him, may have informed why he quickly reached out to President Muhammadu Buhari, after a Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, had restrained the DSS, from arresting him over their inability to provide concrete evidence to back up their allegation against him, to allow him travel abroad for over his heart ailment.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President to seek approval to proceed on Leave and use the opportunity to travel to the North American country of the United States, US, to have a date with his physicians over his heart ailment. The Katsina state born Nigerian President did not hesitate in giving him the nod to proceed on Lave which openEd the door way to escape from the country.
The Controversial CBN, governor, who had stepped on toes, including members of the National Assembly was supposed to return to the country on or before Tuesday, January 17, 2023, to fully supervise his new monetary policies, which included the redesigning of the N200, N500, N1000 Notes and setting limits for currency withdrawal for both individuals and Corporate Organisations on a daily and weekly basis.
He may have ran into the murky waters of Nigerian politics that is now hunting him. The apex Bank governormay have known that any attempt to return to the country would land him in DSS custody. This is because, the DSS, Authorities, have stationed their men at strategic Locations at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja , Murtala Muhammed International Airport , MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos and other Internal Airports, across the country , to ensure that he did not find his way into the secretly .
This may have informed why he has reached out to the Authorities to request for more time abroad as he cannot return to the country yet because ‘’ he is sick and undergoing treatment’ ’Notwithstanding his claims, the DSS personnel who are on the alert at the various International airports in the country are
still on the lookout for him.
Femi Falana, a Senor Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, appears to be in support of the DSS, plan, to arrest Emefiele to respond to the allegations of Corruption and funding terrorism against him.
Appearing on Channels Television on Sunday, January 15, 2023, the Legal Luminary had said that the embattled Emefiele,cannot return to the country because he has been declared wanted by the secret police. Falana, who could not hide his feelings had said that the DSS, does not need a Court order to arrest the CBN governor if the service has concrete evidence against.
It was not surprising why he has urged the secret police ‘’to proceed to arrest Emefiele upon his arrival in Nigeria’’ noting that that ‘’the apex bank governor is not one of those constitutionally entitled to enjoy immunity in the country’’.
Describing the DSS, allegations against the CBN governor as ‘’embarrassing’’ the Lagos based SAN, said ‘’this can only happen in a Banana Republic where the governor of the apex bank could be accused of rave offence of terrorism financing’’. His worries was ‘’the enormous implication of the effect of a wanted governor of the country’s CBN, on the economy’’.
He had had said that if the government had considered the negative implications on the economy it would not have allowed the matter to degenerate to that level without bring the situation under control.
Many had expected the Nigerian President, who may have given Emefiele soft landing to leave the country to intervene by calling the State Security Service, Leadership to order or give a matching order to the CBCBN governor to return to the country or be retired. Even Falana, the Lagos based Legal Luminary said that much also when he appeared on Channels Television last Sunday.
The refusal of Emefiele to return to the country for fear of being arrested by the DSS, may have left the running of the apex bank on a day to day basis in the hands of Hajia Aishah Ahmad,Deputy governor, Financial System Stability Directorate, Edward Adamu, Deputy governor, Corporate Services Directorate, Folasodun Adebisi Shonubi, Deputy governor, Operations Directorate and Kingsley Obiora, Deputy governor, Economic Policy Directorate. Note that the foursome are members of the CBN, Board Members.
There are seven other Executive members of the Board which included Prof, Justilia Nnabuko, Adeola.S. Adetunji, Prof. Mike Obadan, Prof. Adamu Jalingo, Ahmed Idris, Abdu Abubakar and Aliyu Ahmed who are said to be assisting the four CBN, Deputy governors to do their job.
Financial analysts believe that that Buhari may not have intervened to save Emefiele from the hands of the DSS, as he may likely appoint Hajia Ahmad or Adamu as the Acting CBN governor to replace Emefiele, before handing over to the next Nigerian President on May 29, 2023.
They noted that history is being repeated in the apex bank. They recalled that during former President Goodluc‘s Administration, in 2014, the DSS, under the Leadership of Ita Ekpeyong, had accused Lamido Sanusi, the then CBN, governor of ‘’terrorism financing’’. The forme CBN , governor had travelled out of the country to attend a meeting with the governors of the Central banks of Economic Community of West African States, ECWAS, member countries, in Niamy, Capital of the neighbouring country of Niger Republic .
The DSS personnel were said to have laid ambush for him at the Nnamdi Azikiwe and MMIA, International Airport, in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre. He may have arrived at the MMIA, International Airport, where he was quickly arrested and his passport seized.
The radical former CBN governor who could not take it had dragged the government to Court and won the case.The Court was said to have also awarded a N50 million compensation in his favour.
They noted that if Emefiele believes that he was not using his position as CBN , governor to finance terrorism in the country, he should be able to take the bold initiatitive, as Sanusi, his Predecessor did in 2014, to drag the DSS to court when he was acoused of a similar offence.
Critics believe that the embattled CBN, governor continued stay abroad is not helping matters. Falana, who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’the allegation of terrorism financing against Emefiele should not be dismissed’ ’insisting that he must be arrested by the DSS personnel, anytime sighted in the country.
But some SANs are asking the government to ensure that’’ the DSS, obey the Court orders which had restrained them from arresting, detaining or intimidating Emefiele’’. The SANs, in a Statement signed by one Adetokunbo Olukayode, the Silks had urged Abubakar Malami, mnister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, who incidentally is a SAN, ‘’to ensure full adherence to the Rule of Law and advise the security agencies, particular, the DSS , to comply with the Court order and not do anything that will cast the present Administration in bad light before the international Community’’.