Suspended CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele Faces Prolonged Custody as DSS Seeks Court Order for Extended Interrogation
The Department of State Services (DSS) is expected to seek a court order to keep the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, in custody for the duration of his interrogation. According to a source within the DSS, the agency plans to obtain an order to detain Emefiele indefinitely to allow for thorough questioning. President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele from office, citing an ongoing investigation into his administration and planned reforms in the financial sector.
Emefiele was arrested by DSS operatives in Lagos and transported to Abuja on a private jet. A video circulating online showed him being driven to the airport in an unmarked vehicle and escorted onto a waiting plane. The source within the DSS stated that Emefiele would be detained for an extended period to address existing charges and conduct further investigations. The DSS has assembled a team of experienced interrogators to question Emefiele on various matters, including alleged terrorism financing, mismanagement of the economy, and misconduct at the CBN.
In addition to Emefiele, other top officials at the CBN are expected to be interrogated in the coming weeks as part of a comprehensive probe into the administration. The DSS is reportedly interested in senior officials from the procurement department and special advisers to the suspended governor. These individuals are believed to possess valuable information regarding the actions taken by Emefiele during his tenure.
The specific issues that Emefiele and other officials will be questioned about include allegations of fraud in loans disbursed under the Fadama scheme, irregularities in the sale of Polaris Bank, accusations of financing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and forex fraud. The officials will also be asked about the CBN's fiscal policies, including the naira redesign policy that led to a nationwide economic crisis and social unrest.
DSS spokesperson, Dr. Peter Afunaya, confirmed Emefiele's custody and stated that he would undergo interrogation. The DSS might also conduct searches at Emefiele's residence and office as part of their investigation. The DSS had previously attempted to arrest Emefiele but failed to provide sufficient evidence to substantiate their claims of terrorism financing and economic crimes.
Meanwhile, the value of the Nigerian naira has significantly depreciated since Emefiele assumed office in June 2014. The naira has lost approximately 76.17% of its value compared to the US dollar during this period. Emefiele's policies aimed at stabilizing the naira, such as restricting forex supply, have not been successful, leading to criticism from experts and international institutions like the World Bank.
Economists attribute the devaluation to both economic and political factors, including increased imports, illicit capital flow, and intentional devaluation by the CBN to meet fiscal expenditures. They emphasize the need to boost production and reduce dependence on oil to address the currency devaluation issue effectively.
The ongoing investigation and detention of Emefiele highlight the seriousness of the allegations against him and the commitment of the Nigerian government to address financial misconduct and ensure transparency in the banking sector.