Prominent Nigerians who are members of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi.
It has been reported that the call for Bichi’s sack followed the failed attempt by the DSS to secure a court order for the arrest and detention of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, for allegedly financing terrorism.
SMBLF in a statement issued on Monday by Edwin Clark, leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF); Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere; Pogu Bitrus, president of the Middle Belt Forum; and Okey Emuchay, secretary-general, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, said the action of the DSS is a disservice to Nigeria.
The statement reads: “It is unthinkable that the DSS would so recklessly and casually, accuse Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, of “financing terrorism” and involvement in “Economic Crimes of National Security dimension.”
“This is not only baffling, but also a shameful disgrace to the Buhari Administration and the Country, and it is capable of unsettling the fragile socio-economic tractions of the country.
What is the evidence that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is involved in “Terrorism Financing”? If the allegations against the CBN Governor are genuine, why didn’t the DSS present its findings to the President for consideration and necessary action?
Truth be told, there are elements within, and outside, the Buhari administration that do not want Mr. Godwin Emefiele to remain in office, as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; the reasons are not farfetched.
Recall that barely forty-eight hours after the announcement of the redesign of the country’s currency by the CBN, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, disowned the Policy.
She went on to assert that the redesigning, which the apex bank said is aimed at fighting banditry and kidnapping for ransom, controlling the amount of money in circulation, fighting inflation and addressing issues of corruption and hoarding of naira notes by individuals, if implemented, would portend great consequences for the Country and its economy.
Similar disagreeable remarks were made by other top officials, with outrageous postulations and disparaging commentaries also peddled to discredit the person and Office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
More importantly, SMBLF, calls for a thorough investigation of the incident, to determine officials and individuals behind the disgraceful and subversive plot, and appropriate sanctions must be meted out to anyone found culpable.
This is a very sensitive matter and must be given serious attention by the government. The misadventure has further brought to the fore the disturbing gaps and discordance in the Buhari administration, which account for the many policy conflicts and misdirection in the government.”
Recall that reports emerged on Monday December 19, 2022 of the DSS approaching the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order to arrest and detain Godwin Emefiele.
News360 info reports that Justice John Tsoho, the Chief Judge of the High Court, in declining the motion ex parte, filed by an applicant in the absence of the respondent, said the secret police did not provide any concrete evidence to substantiate its claims that Emefiele was involved in terrorism financing and economic crimes.
This online news platform reports that the move by the DSS was greeted by massive protests by human rights lawyers, civil society groups including the Arewa Youth Consultative Movement, which raised the alarm over an alleged plot by the DSS to frame up Emefiele over alleged terrorism sponsorship against Nigeria.
In another ruling the DSS and Police were stopped by a High Court in Abuja from arresting and detaining Godwin Emefiele.
The court had also restrained the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the CBN, who are listed as 1st, 2nd and 5th defendants.
The presiding judge, Justice MA Hassan gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/GAR/41/2022, filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Forum for Accountability and Good Leadership.