A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), the African Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR), has written an open letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over the detention and trial of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
In a statement released on Sunday, the CSO maintained that Emefiele is innocent of the fresh allegations of breach of the Procurement Act and unfair advantages in the award of contracts being levelled against him by the Federal Government.
Naija News recalls that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and counsel to the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, recently announced that the Federal Government had filed a fresh 20 count-charge against Emefiele before an FCT High Court in Abuja.
The charges stemmed from corrupt advantages granted to Emefiele’s associates, including a CBN employee, Sa’adatu Yaro, and her company, April1616 Investment Limited. They are being accused of procuring an array of 98 luxury vehicles and armoured buses, with an estimated total value of around ₦6.9 billion
However, the CSO said with the way allegations against Emefiele were changing, it was clear that the DSS was allegedly on a witch-hunting journey sponsored by politicians and businessmen who were hellbent on destroying the suspended apex banker.
ACJHR in a statement by its convener, Barrister Tochukwu Ohazuruike, faulted the Federal Government’s latest claims.
He described the move by the secret police in order of the Federal Government as unfair treatment of Emefiele as, according to him, he was being unjustly made to face legal action.
While pointing out that the Department of State Services (DSS) has over the months disrespected the judiciary regarding Emefiele’s case, ACJHR urged President Tinubu to direct the secret police to release Emefiele pending the hearing and determination of the case.
The group stated, “Emefiele is innocent of the fresh allegations of breach of procurement Act and unfair advantages in the award of a contract by the Federal Government. The Department of State Services, DSS, over the months has tried in vain to pin the suspended CBN Governor with baseless charges.
“First, it was an allegation of terrorism financing, then alleged possession of illegal firearms, now they are withdrawing the charges and claiming Emefiele breached the Procurement Act.
“With the way the secret police is changing their claims against the embattled suspended CBN Governor, it’s clear that they are on a witch-hunt, sponsored by unscrupulous politicians and businessmen who are hellbent on destroying him.
“However, as a human rights organisation, we believe that everyone charged with an offence is innocent until proven guilty. We won’t allow violations of human rights and hereby urge President Bola Tinubu to direct the police to release Emefiele pending the hearing and determination of the trial.”
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