Government & Politics

Legal Community Exposes Hypocrisy: Arresting Emefiele While Leaving Buhari Raises Concerns of Selective Justice, Say Lawyers

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Legal Community Exposes Hypocrisy: Arresting Emefiele While Leaving Buhari Raises Concerns of Selective Justice, Say Lawyers

In a striking display of double standards, legal practitioners condemn the State Security Services (SSS) for the arrest and detention of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, while seemingly turning a blind eye to his principal and approving authority, former President Muhammadu Buhari. The apparent disparity in treatment has ignited accusations of hypocrisy within the legal community, prompting serious concerns about selective justice.

The SSS, having previously attempted to apprehend Emefiele in December last year, encountered legal obstacles that prevented his arrest at the time. However, the governor faced intense scrutiny in the lead-up to the 2023 general elections due to the controversial Naira Redesign Policy implemented by the CBN. Many viewed this policy as specifically targeting Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

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During a recent appearance on the Arise Television breakfast show in Abuja, Kingdom Okere, the Convener of Lawyers in Defence of Democracy, vehemently criticized the SSS for what he deemed a deliberate attempt to frame Emefiele and an unlawful arrest. Okere highlighted that the arrest violated a standing order from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, further amplifying concerns surrounding the case.

Legal experts are particularly troubled by the extended duration of Emefiele’s detention, which has exceeded one month under the custody of the security agency. Okere raised poignant questions about why the SSS failed to gather necessary evidence against Emefiele during the period from December 2022 to June 2023, when the initial arrest was attempted. This prolonged detention period only serves to heighten suspicions of ulterior motives behind the governor’s confinement.

Although the SSS recently claimed to have charged Emefiele and intended to bring him before a court, Okere pointed out that mere charging is distinct from arraignment. Lawyers associated with the group Lawyers in Defence of Democracy have been diligently following this case since December 7th, 2022 when the SSS sought an irregular ex parte application from the Federal High Court. However, the court rightfully rejected participation in such proceedings, deeming them irregular.

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The growing discontent within the legal community is leading to calls for the removal of the Director-General of the State Security Services, Yusuf Bichi. Okere argued that Bichi’s retention is unjustifiable, especially considering President Tinubu’s decision to dismiss the Service Chiefs. The apparent inconsistency in addressing individuals of influence within Nigeria’s political landscape only serves to deepen public skepticism surrounding the notions of fairness and the rule of law in the country.

As the legal community continues to scrutinize the arrest of Emefiele and the stark contrast in treatment between him and former President Buhari, questions persist regarding the underlying motives behind this apparent selective justice. The case underscores the critical importance of upholding principles such as equity, transparency, and the rule of law to preserve public trust in Nigeria’s judicial system.

Source: Vanguard Nigeria – “It’s hypocrisy to arrest Emefiele and leave Buhari — Lawyers”

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