The Department of State Service (DSS) has started exercising a be-on-the-lookout for the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele according to two officials familiar with the matter.
The secret police according to the Peoples Gazette, has deployed several officers to monitor the CBN Headquarters and Mr Emefiele’s family residence in Lagos.
A DSS officer familiar with the matter said the deployment came from an assistant director and could not immediately say whether or not Director-General Yusuf Bichi signed off on it.
“We have different teams of at least two each monitoring those places,” the officer said under anonymity to disclose cursory specifics of an ongoing operation. “We don’t know if they have more people deployed to even more places, but we did not see any signal from the DG’s office to suggest his involvement at this point”.
The development comes as Mr Emefiele’s whereabouts became unknown after being aware of the threat to take him into custody by the SSS.
Recall that the agency unsuccessfully sought a warrant from the Federal High Court earlier this month, with a federal judge ruling that sufficient probable cause was not established for the issuance of a warrant against a sitting governor of the nation’s banker and foremost regulator of the banking sector.
In the application ex-parte, an action filed to the exclusion of its defendant, the SSS asked the court to order Mr Emefiele’s arrest on account of terrorism financing and economic sabotage, among other nefarious acts.
But Justice John Tsoho said he didn’t see enough evidence in the SSS application and bemoaned the agency’s failure to take him into confidence.
“It therefore seems that the applicant intends to use the court as a cover for an irregular procedure, which is unacceptable,” the judge ruled on December 13.
Mr Tsoho, however, said the SSS could still take Mr Emefiele in as part of its mandate as a federal law enforcement outfit. The CBN governor does not enjoy constitutional immunity from arrest or prosecution while in office.
CBN officials said Mr Emefiele had not been seen at work since he joined other top Nigerian officials who accompanied President Muhammadu Buhari to Washington D.C. for a string of political and business engagements in the United States capital between starting December 11. Mr Buhari returned to Abuja shortly before 5:00 a.m. on December 18, but Mr Emefiele has remained out of public view.
But officers suspected Mr Emefiele was not in Nigeria and might linger abroad to avoid being arrested. But for how long Mr Emefiele could remain in hiding or avoid stepping into Nigeria while running the central bank would ultimately rest with the president to decide.
Source: News Band Newspaper