The Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, Nigeria, has declared the prolonged detention of former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, without trial as a flagrant violation of his fundamental rights.
The court has also imposed a N100 million fine against the Federal Government and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and restrained them from rearresting or detaining Emefiele without a court order.
This judgment comes in response to a fundamental human rights suit filed by the former CBN governor following his extended detention in the custody of the Department of State Services. Emefiele sought an order for the respondents to pay him N1bn in damages and to prevent them from further arresting or detaining him.
The presiding judge, Olukayode Adeniyi, delivered the judgement on Monday, stating, “It is hereby declared that the actions of the first and fourth respondents and its agents incarcerating the applicants from June 13, 2023, to October 26, 2023, when he was transferred to the custody of the fourth respondent and his further detention by the third and fourth respondents without arraignment in the court of law for the commission of any offence up until November 8, 2023, when by the order of this court when the applicant was released on bail to his senior learned counsel constitutes a flagrant violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights to personal liberty preserved by the provision of section 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979 and Article 6 of the African charter on human and peoples right.
He further awarded a sum of N100 million in favour of Emefiele against the first and fourth respondents jointly as damages for the unlawful violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty. The court also restrained the government and its agents from re-arresting or detaining Emefiele without a court order.
During the ruling, Adeniyi expressed scepticism about the remand warrants obtained by the EFCC, stating, “The credibility is questionable.” He emphasised the need to halt the practice of arresting suspects before investigation by security agencies.