Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has reportedly been granted study leave by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This opportunity, for Emefiele to leave the country before Buhari hand over power to President-elect Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023, comes amid corruption and terrorism-financing allegations against him, SaharaReporters reports.
However, it was learnt that the country’s secret police, the Department of State Services, which made futile attempts to arrest and detain Emefiele in the past over the damning allegations against him, is not happy about the prospect of seeing the CBN governor evade justice.
“The DSS has kicked against the study leave reportedly granted to Emefiele as it means he will flee the country before May 29 when another government comes in,” a source said on Friday.
Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress will be sworn in as Nigeria’s new president on May 29 barring any court judgement to the contrary as his election victory is being challenged at the election petition tribunal.
The online newspaper had reported how the DSS accused Emefiele of sabotaging the economy, financing terrorism and committing other economic crimes.
Meanwhile, the secret police said their preliminary investigation revealed various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities perpetrated by Emefiele and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension including mismanaging the CBN subsidiary, NISRAL, and the central bank’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.
The secret police also accused Emefiele of “fraud, money laundering, round tripping and conferment of financial benefit to self and others.”
The agency sought a court warrant to arrest the CBN governor but Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, refused to grant the application, citing an irregularity in the procedure adopted by the DSS in its application.
In court documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the DSS in its application filed as an ex parte motion, sought court permission to detain Emefiele for 60 days to conclude an ongoing investigation into his alleged crimes.
The application was reportedly supported by an affidavit deposed to by a DSS official, Umar Salihu, who summarised the details of the investigations into the weighty crimes Emefiele allegedly committed.
The documents alleged that Emefiele had been funding “unknown gunmen” terrorising Southeast Nigeria.
PREMIUM TIMES quoted the deponent of the affidavit as saying, “There is reasonable suspicion that the respondent (Mr Emefiele) was involved in terrorism financing, aiding and abetting acts of terrorism, economic crimes of national security dimension and for undermining the security of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
According to Salihu, the agency needed to apply to the court “for an order enabling the applicant to detain the respondent for 60 days, pending the conclusion of ongoing investigation …”