A human rights activist, Femi Falana, says he is surprised President Muhammadu Buhari has not reined in Department of State Services (DSS) on the terrorism financing allegation levelled against the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
The DSS had last month accused Emefiele of financing terrorism in Nigeria.
But a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory barred the DSS and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, from arresting and detaining him over the alleged trumped-up allegation against him.
Emefiele travelled abroad for medical attention but recently, there have been stories in the media about concerns over his whereabouts.
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While speaking on Channels Television, Falana disclosed that the CBN governor had not returned to the country, challenging the president to take action on the allegation.
Falana lamented that the DSS had deployed the same method to remove the immediate past CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, from the office, adding that he sued the DSS and won.
The human rights activist noted that nothing was heard of the allegation immediately after Sanusi was forced out of office.
He warned that labelling the CBN governor of the most populous black country in the world a terrorism financier without proof would have a negative impact on the economy of the country.
“This can only happen in a Banana Republic like Nigeria where the CBN governor can be accused of a grave offence of terrorism financing.
“The details are not stipulated, the details are not outlined and these guys play on our collective intelligence.
“I expect the State Security Service (now DSS) to come out with the allegations and if Mr Emefiele is not going to return to the country, file a charge in the federal high court so that he can get his lawyers and prepare his defence.
“A government must not engage in cheap blackmail. I am completely flabbergasted that the president of our country has not intervened either to call the State Security Service to order or to order Mr Emefiele to return to the country or be fired.
“But we can’t go on like this as if we are operating in a Banana Republic, it’s so embarrassing. If I were the president, I will take control of the country,” he said.
Falana also expressed dismay that the government had not been able to tackle the issue of vot trading in the electoral process.
He said the cash withdrawal limit would not curb vote buying during the 2023 general elections.
“The central bank has placed a limit to the amount of money that can be withdrawn from the bank – that is naira. If you say I can not bribe people with naira, I can resort to a dollar.
“So, instead of giving voters N3000, I give $10 which is N7500 and ask two or three of them to combine and vote for me. That has to be addressed.
“There is no way you can place a limit on the amount of naira a Nigerian can withdraw from the bank without addressing the ‘dollarisation’ of the economy, the ‘dollarisation’ of the voting system that we witnessed during the cash and carry primaries of some of the political parties,” the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said.
He said if the government is determined to ensure that votes are not sold or bought, it has the capacity to stop the “disgrace”.
The President’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, could not be reached for comments on Falana’s remarks as his two lines were switched off.