On Monday, 60 legal practitioners petitioned a Federal Capital Territory High Court to initiate committal proceedings against the State Security Services (SSS).
The suit, according to the lawyers, was based on a violation of multiple court judgements and orders directing the agency to release a former Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele.
The lawyers, led by Mr Maxwell Opara and Mr Ahmed Tijani, asked the court to imprison the SSS until it cleared itself of the contempt charge.
The lawyers petitioned the court for the issuance of Forms 48 and 49, which are used to initiate proceedings to commit a contemnor to prison.
According to the lawyers, the SSS Director-General should have released Emefiele based on the judgements and orders of Justice M. A. Hassan, Justice Hamza Muazu, and Justice Bello Kawu.
The lawyers testified in an affidavit supporting the application that Justice Hassan barred the respondents, particularly the SSS, from arresting, detaining, or interrogating Emefiele.
This was in relation to offences involving terrorism financing, money laundering, round-tripping, and financial crimes involving national security.
They also testified that, despite the court’s clear and positive orders, the DSS went ahead and arrested and detained Emefiele, detaining him for over a month while looking for evidence that did not exist.
After filing their processes, Opara told reporters that the group would pursue the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that Bichi was imprisoned.
He stated that this was done to show other heads of security agencies that disobeying court orders would no longer be tolerated.
Opara also thought it was absurd that the SSS had accused Emefiele of heinous crimes against the state only to charge him with possession of a validly registered pump action rifle.
Is it not clear enough to Nigerians that the SSS is persecuting Emefiele if after holding him for five weeks they can only file a ridiculous charge of possessing a validly registered pump action gun?
This clearly shows that the travail of Emefiele is more for political reasons than for any other.