Lately, the media landscape has been inundated with a variety of discussions concerning the alleged disregard of Court Orders by the Department of State Services (DSS). Despite the inaccuracy of these claims, they have reached a crescendo with the Emefiele case. It may be of interest to the public, as well as the vocal critics of the DSS, to take note of the following incidents and timelines. These instances aim to illustrate the Service’s consistent adherence to Court orders in relation to the Emefiele case and others.

In 2022, the Service initiated an investigation into Mr. Godwin Emefiele on suspicion of terrorism financing, money laundering, and related offenses. Subsequently, the Service sought the arrest and detention of Emefiele through an application to the Federal High Court in Abuja. However, the Chief Judge objected to this order, stating clearly that the Service did not require an order to investigate or apprehend him. Emefiele later obtained a restraining order from Justice MA Hassan of the FCT High Court against the Service. Importantly, the DSS respected this order and refrained from arresting or detaining Emefiele.

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Nonetheless, on June 9, 2023, Emefiele was suspended from his role as CBN Governor by the President. Following new information and suspected criminal activities, the Service lawfully arrested and detained him using a Magisterial Order. On July 10, 2023, Justice Hamza Mu’azu of the FCT High Court acknowledged the DSS’s legal right to arrest, detain, and investigate Emefiele. He ordered Emefiele’s release or prosecution within seven days. The DSS promptly and explicitly complied with this order, charging Emefiele for the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, one of the suspected criminal offenses. This order effectively extended Emefiele’s detention by seven days from July 10, 2023, when the initial detention order had lapsed.

Within the same timeframe, Justice Bello Kawu of the FCT High Court, while dismissing the requests made by Peter Abang, Emefiele’s counsel, on July 14, 2023, ordered Emefiele’s release or prosecution within 48 hours. However, the DSS had already complied with the seven-day ultimatum issued by Justice Mu’azu. In adherence to the principles of the rule of law, Emefiele was arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on July 25, 2023, for illegal possession of arms and ammunition. The DSS had earlier released a press statement regarding an incident at the Court involving its staff and the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), committing to investigate the matter. Although the investigation is ongoing, preliminary findings reveal concerning actions by certain public officials.

In the course of criminal investigations, security agencies often re-arrest suspects based on substantial suspicion of a crime or new revelations from ongoing investigations. Emefiele’s re-arrest was conducted within this framework. While the re-arrest may have been marred by the overzealousness of certain Service personnel and NCoS staff, it was nonetheless executed in accordance with legal procedures.

Later on, the DSS applied for an Ex Parte Order at the FCT High Court under the jurisdiction of Justice Edward Okpe (not Justice Mu’azu, as inaccurately reported in the media) to detain Emefiele for 14 days. During these proceedings, a lawyer unexpectedly appeared in court on behalf of Emefiele. While the Judge did not outrightly reject the DSS’s request, he dismissed the motion after the Service’s counsel withdrew it. This decision was guided by Section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), which recognizes the Magistrate Court as competent to issue an order for the custody of a suspect under investigation. This clarification led the Service to take the appropriate actions. Unfortunately, some individuals with malicious intent have distorted the events at the court to misrepresent the situation.

Numerous criticisms have emerged, accusing the DSS of blatant disobedience to Court Orders, particularly in light of recent incidents at High Courts in Lagos and Abuja. Following the events on July 27, 2023, under Justice Okpe, the DSS immediately applied for and obtained a detention order from a Magistrate Court, thus ensuring Emefiele’s lawful detention. Due to the sub judice nature of the Emefiele case, the Service refrains from providing further commentary on the matter.

Amidst a lack of understanding or deliberate disregard for the truth, sustained attacks on the Service and its leadership have persisted in the media and public discourse. Paradoxically, those condemning media trials have paradoxically subjected the Service to the same. The actual facts, however, remain clear to the Service. It recognizes the depths of orchestrations and a deeper conspiracy to provoke a conflict between the Service and the judiciary.

Unjustly targeting DSS DG, YM Bichi, with malicious media assaults is unwarranted. Any DGSS, even if heavenly-appointed, would fulfill the DSS mandate. Throughout our national journey towards greatness, key government bodies remain necessary and indispensable. Similar to the CIA and FBI, the DSS is a pivotal and positive instrument of state administration and management. It contributes significantly to statecraft, governance, stability, and public order. The unreasonable proposal to abolish it, as advocated by the uninformed, is without merit. It is evident that the DSS’s true essence has been misunderstood. A smear campaign is being waged against the Service. The Service and Bichi, a distinguished officer, deserve understanding and support. Uphold the DSS. Uphold Nigeria. Just as stated in the national anthem, let us rise, fellow compatriots.

Critics have propagated various insinuations, including derogatory comments about the Service, its leadership, and a skewed interpretation of the Service’s vital historical role in nation-building. Some have gone as far as to declare the Service as faltering and irrelevant. Such claims are laughable. The DSS remains steadfast and unwavering. Even the harshest critics acknowledge the Service’s stabilizing contributions to the nation. Its loyalty and patriotism are beyond measure. The Service plays a crucial role in upholding the country’s democracy and preserving the unity and sovereignty of Nigeria. Collaborative support from stakeholders is essential to reinforce this role. The Service does not pretend to be all-knowing, which is why it welcomes constructive criticism and dedicates time to clarify its actions transparently and democratically.

Whether in the cases of Emefiele, Bawa, or Kanu, the Service has consistently followed judicial orders and handled the cases procedurally and in accordance with the rule of law. Critics are urged to exercise discernment and enhance their research capabilities. Doing so would reveal that the Service respects orders. The Court of Appeal’s ruling on Kanu is recommended for thorough study. This could provide insight into distinguishing between “Discharged” and “Acquitted,” as well as the implications of each term in a judge’s final order. The DSS wholeheartedly respects the law. While one may contest this, it remains true. To this end, the Service has sought a stay or notice of appeal on certain matters, demonstrating a commitment to legal processes.

Those seeking justice must not intimidate judges or hinder law enforcement efforts. Judges administer justice impartially and should be allowed to fulfill their duties with honor. Once again, the Service emphasizes its unwavering commitment to the rule of law and respect for the judiciary. This stance remains unaltered, despite futile attempts to distort it.


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