The Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on public petition, Mr Mike Eteba yesterday grilled officials of the Economies and financial crimes commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) over alleged attempt to abduct the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele in breach of extant provision of the law.
The petition was brought against the EFCC, the directorate of state services (DSS), and NCS by the Centre for Social Justice, Equity And Transparency (CESJET) against the act at the Kuje Correctional centre after Emefiele was granted bail by the court.
When the petition was called up, officials of NCS denied involvement in the act just as their counterpart of the EFCC said they had no hand in the failed abduction plot.
A representative of CESJET, Mr Ahmed Tijani produced pictorial evidence to the lawmakers portraying how EFCC operatives actually laid siege at the Kuje prison to buttress their claim.
The panel proceedings almost turned rancourous after counsel to CESJET insisted on proving their case notwithstanding denials by the EFCC and Prison officials.
This was as the Director Legal and Prosecution Department of EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir SAN, said it was inappropriate to entertain the petition as it bordered a subsisting court matter.
Nababa, who was represented by the Assistant Controller-General in Charge of Operations, Nwakeze Emmanuel, said, “As far as we are concerned, we are not aware of any alleged attempt to forcefully release Dr Emefiele. Emefiele is still in our custody, bubbling.”
Earlier the EFCC’s legal representative, Tahir, had said, “The petition which we perused borders on a pending court case. There is a subsisting criminal charge against Mr Godwin Emefiele on whose behalf the petitioners have petitioned.
“I am wondering whether it is appropriate given the fact that it borders on a subsisting court matter for this committee to by way of public hearing delve into the matter more so that Mr Emefiele is ably represented by very senior lawyers in this matter including senior advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and this petition did not emanate from them and in any event, we believe if the allegations have substance as the petitioners would want this committee to believe it would have been ventilated before the honourable court before which this case is pending because they are alleging case of contempt
“If it is a case of contempt as it is being alleged, I thought the appropriate forum to ventilate that issue should be before the honourable court other than being it before this committee given the sub judice nature of this case.The court made an order admitting him to bail on conditions which to the best of our knowledge is yet to fulfil the bail condition. The correctional centre can confirm that he (Emefiele) is in their custody ostensibly because of the reason of non-fulfilment of the bail condition.”
The panel chairman thereby directed lawyers to the former CBN Governor to proceed to the court and file contempt charges if the EFCC makes any further move or if they feel strongly that the order of the court have been violated.
The lawyer to the petitioners while addressing the media insists that the alleged attempt to forcefully abduct Mr. Emefiele from lawful custody actually occured.
CESJET hinted that it would proceed by filing proceeding against executive rascality by the EFCC and DSS should there be a repeat of illegality of 22nd November 2023.
Tijani slammed the EFCC and DSS over their penchant for disobedience to court order, adding that the agencies had failed to respect several order of courts granting Emefiele bail.
” We are not here to challenge the matter in court but to report the alleged attempt to forcefully remove Emefiele by EFCC from the Correctional Centre,” he noted.
The Controller General of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), Haliru Nababa, on Thursday denied that the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) attempted to forcefully abduct former Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, from the custody of Nigeria Correctional Centre, Kuje, Abuja.
He said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, following a petition by the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency alleging that the EFCC and DSS attempted to forcefully remove Emefiele from custody.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon Mike Etaba, however dismissed the petition on the grounds that it was sub judice, when it came on for first hearing on Thursday.