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Godwin Emefiele Vs DSS: The Brunt of Arrogance

It is no longer news that the operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) fought over the custody of Godwin Emefiele, suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday.  

Emefiele who is facing charges on illegal possession of firearms was granted N20 million bail and one surety in like sum by a federal high court in Ikoyi, Lagos. 

The presiding judge also ruled that the suspended apex bank chief be remanded at the correctional centre pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions.

‘Disrespectful DSS’

After the court session, the DSS re-arrested Emefiele, in the premises of the court. The re-arrest attempt turned riotous when Emefiele came out of the courtroom, led by a squadron commander from the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), but was intercepted by DSS operatives, which caused Emefiele to retreat back into the courtroom. 

While Emefiele’s lawyers were busy perfecting his bail conditions, DSS sent for reinforcement. The mood in the court immediately changed, as DSS personnel engaged in fisticuffs over who should take custody of the former CBN governor.


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Aside from beating the NCoS squadron commander, whose custody the judge had ruled Emefiele should be, pending perfection of his bail, DSS personnel and the NCoS officers corked their guns and were ready to shoot, as court workers and journalists scampered for safety. 

DSS reacts 

Barely 24 hours after the supremacy battle over Emefiele, the secret police condemned the incident, describing it as unfortunate.

“The incident was unfortunate and does not in any way reflect the professional disposition of the DSS,” a statement by DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, partly read.

“The Service did not and would never encourage the incident under reference. The Service has tremendous respect for the Judiciary as an Arm and Institution of Government and will not go out of its way to undermine it.

“The DSS recognises the Judiciary as a critical component in nation-building, national development and security management. Also, the Service has a robust working relationship with sister security and law enforcement agencies including the NCoS.”

Not the first time

The agency, established under military rule in 1986, has a penchant for disobeying court orders and has continued to do so. 

The DSS is headed by a Director-General who is chosen by the president and reports directly to him. No president in Nigeria has ever condemned the SSS for disobeying the court orders and presidents’ appointees have repeatedly defended the disobedience.

Despite the court judgment and criticism by local and international human rights activists, Sambo Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser was held by the SSS after several court orders. 

Before his release, he was granted bail at least seven times by various courts, with the SSS refusing to heed all the orders.

Not only did the SSS refuse to obey court order on the release of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, they also continued detaining him till the Kaduna government filed charges after the Shiite members began a daily protest to demand Mr El-Zakzaky’s release.

Members of the House of Representatives also called on the Nigerian government to release El-Zakzaky.

In the case of Omoyele Sowore, DSS repeatedly refused to release him after the prosecution informed the court of its completion of investigations into the allegations against the activist.

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