About 60 Constitutional and Human Rights lawyers on Monday at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT commenced a contempt charge against the Director General of the State Security Service, Yusuf Bichi.
The move against Bichi, according to the lawyers, is a result of a violation of multiple judgements and orders of court directing the release of the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele, from the custody of the agency.
The contempt charge is seeking to commit the DSS Chief to prison in line with provisions of the law on violation of lawful order of a competent court.
In their motion filed before the court for the issuing of Form 48 and Form 49 which are the forms to commence proceedings to commit a contemnor to prison, the lawyers said by the judgements and orders of Justice M. A. Hassan, Justice Hamza Muazu and Justice Bello Kawu, the DSS DG ought to have released Emefiele from detention.
In the affidavit in support of the application, the lawyers deposed to the fact that Justice M. A. Hassan restrained the respondents in that suit, particularly, the State Security Service from arresting, detaining, or interrogating Emefiele for offences connected to Terrorism financing, money laundering, round tripping, financial crimes of national security dimension among others.
They asserted that despite the clear and positive orders of Justice Hassan, the State Security Service still went ahead to arrest and detain Emefiele and detained him for well over a month while shopping for evidence.
Opara also called on President Bola Tinubu to immediately relieve Bichi of his appointment as the DSS DG for having allegedly misled the president that Emefiele had committed heinous crimes against the state only for him to now file a charge of possession of a validly registered pump action rifle against the suspended CBN governor.
“Is it not clear enough to Nigerians that the SSS is persecuting Emefiele if after holding him for 5 weeks they can only file a ridiculous charge of possessing a pump action gun? Opara asked.
“If possessing a validly registered pump action gun is a crime worthy of being held in perpetuity, what has the SSS done to the person threatening Nigerians from a particular section of the country with an assault rifle? This clearly shows the travail of Emefiele is more for political reasons than for any other.”
“Assuming there was no valid court order since the DSS had been unable to find any evidence against Emefiele, he was entitled to his release and how much more now that three different courts have ordered his release, the SSS is still holding him in unlawful detention and violating all his rights, hence the reason why we will ensure Yusuf Magaji Bichi ends up being committed to prison”, the lawyer said.