Some constitutional and human rights attorneys have filed a contempt case against Yusuf Bichi, Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), and have begun committal proceedings.
According to the lawyers, the action against Bichi is a violation of repeated court rulings and decrees mandating the release of the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele, from the agency’s custody.
The lawyers, led by Maxwell Opara and Ahmed Tijani, are requesting that the court imprison Bichi until he clears himself of the contempt.
According to the lawyers’ motion filed before the court for the issuance of Form 48 and Form 49, which are the forms used to initiate proceedings to commit a contemnor to prison, the DSS DG should have released Emefiele based on the judgements and orders of Justice M. A. Hassan, Justice Hamza Muazu, and Justice Bello Kawu.
The consortium testified in support of the application that Justice M. A. Hassan barred the respondents in that suit, particularly the DSS, from arresting, detaining, or interrogating Emefiele for offences related to terrorism financing, money laundering, round tripping, and financial crimes of national security dimension, among others.
According to their testimonies, despite Justice Hassan’s explicit and unequivocal orders, the DSS went ahead and arrested and held Emefiele for well over a month while looking for evidence that did not exist.
Opara told journalists after filing their processes at the court registry that the group would pursue the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that Bichi is imprisoned as a deterrent to other heads of security agencies and top government officials that contempt of court and gross abuse of their offices for personal vendetta would no longer be tolerated.
Opara also called on President Bola Tinubu to immediately remove Bichi from his position as DSS DG for allegedly misleading the president into believing Emefiele had committed heinous crimes against the state, only for him to now charge the suspended CBN governor with possession of a validly registered pump action rifle.
The lawyer went on to say that Emefiele was entitled to his release because there was no valid court order and the DSS had been unable to find any evidence against him.
He determined that the DSS’s continuous imprisonment was illegal and violated all of his rights, which is why the consortium would ensure Bichi was committed to prison.