The Department of State Services (DSS) is looking into the incident at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, which happened on July 25, 2023 during the arraignment of the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The incident involved an altercation between DSS staff and personnel from the Nigerian Correctional Service and has sparked concerns regarding the conduct of law enforcement agencies in the country.
The DSS, in a statement released by its Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, Ph.D., expressed regret over the incident and emphasized that it did not encourage such behaviour.
The agency acknowledged the importance of the judiciary as a fundamental pillar of democracy and reaffirmed its commitment to upholding the rule of law and respecting the institutions of government.
According to the statement, both the DSS and Nigerian Correctional Service personnel involved in the altercation exhibited undue overzealousness, and the DSS vowed to identify those responsible for the incident.
The agency assured the public that disciplinary actions would be taken where necessary, and it would draw valuable lessons from the incident to prevent future occurrences.
On Tuesday, the Department of State Services (DSS) re-arrested the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, just moments after he was granted bail by Justice Nicholas Oweibo.
The situation quickly escalated into a heated clash between DSS operatives and officials from the Nigerian Correctional Service over the custody of the embattled former CBN governor.
Emefiele, who had been in the custody of the DSS, secured a bail order from the court following the submissions made by his counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN).
However, the DSS chose to re-arrest him within the premises of the court, leading to a contentious legal battle.
Before the re-arrest, Emefiele’s lawyer, Mr. Joseph Daudu, expressed concerns about the alleged plans by the DSS to disregard the court’s bail ruling and take his client back into custody.
Daudu argued for bail on self-recognizance or other lenient terms, asserting that Emefiele, a renowned banker, had strong ties to the country and would not evade the legal proceedings.
Tensions soared when officials from the Nigerian Correctional Service arrived at the court to take custody of Emefiele, in compliance with the court’s bail conditions.
A confrontation ensued between the DSS operatives and the prison officials, each vying for the right to hold the former CBN governor in their custody.
The situation escalated further when the prison officials eventually left the court, and the DSS reportedly took unilateral action, transferring Emefiele from the court premises to their awaiting vehicle.
The initial charges against Emefiele, filed by the Federal Government, accuse him of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
During the court proceedings, Emefiele pleaded not guilty to these charges, vehemently maintaining his innocence.