In a significant development, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory has issued an order to Yusuf Bichi, the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), to provide access to suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
The court ruling emphasizes that access to legal representation and family members is a constitutional right for Emefiele, who was arrested by the DSS shortly after his suspension by President Bola Tinubu.
Justice Hamza Muazu of the FCT high court issued the order on Friday, reaffirming Emefiele’s constitutional entitlement to access.
The enrolled order, dated June 16, 2023, states, “The lawyers of the applicant shall have access to the applicant immediately and regularly at a reasonable time, pending the determination of the application.”
The court’s decision came after Emefiele’s counsel, J.B. Saudi SAN, filed an application highlighting the DSS’s failure to respond to previous requests for access to their client.
The counsel representing the second and third respondents, I. Awo Esq, argued that the DSS has traditionally been accommodating of such requests, making the denial of access inappropriate.
However, Awo expressed confidence that the security service would comply with the court order and allow the specified lawyers and family members to visit Emefiele.
The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation did not oppose the application, indicating a recognition of Emefiele’s rights to legal representation and family contact.
In the meantime, both the counsels for the DSS and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation requested an extension of time to file their responses to the Originating Motion.
The court granted their request and adjourned the hearing in the substantive suit to Tuesday, June 19, 2023.