Godwin Emefiele’s Kinsmen, CSOs Allege Threat To His Life

Stakeholders and elders of Agbor have raised serious questions about the fate of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 

Expressing concern and consternation, the group highlighted the relentless hounding and persecution of Emefiele, who served as the CBN governor for the past nine years.

Emefiele, suspended from office shortly after the inception of the current administration on May 9th, has been enduring a protracted period of detainment. The stakeholders noted that despite the tenured nature of his position, he was forcibly removed from office. On June 10th, he was seemingly ‘abducted’ from his Lagos home by officials of the Department of State Service (DSS) and has not been allowed to return home since. This situation has persisted for almost six months, with Mr. Emefiele now in the custody of both the DSS and, more recently, the EFCC.

The group, comprising civil society organisations (CSOs) like the OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative and the Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), raised serious concerns about the motivations behind Emefiele’s detainment. They suggested that the ferocity with which he is being pursued hints at the possibility that someone wants him dead.

In a statement that was signed by a member of the stakeholders, Kachiku Kane, the stakeholders pointed to the shifting narrative around Emefiele’s alleged offenses. Initially accused of terrorism financing and economic crimes of national security dimension, when he was finally arraigned in court, the charges were reduced to illegal possession of a single-barrel shotgun and ammunition. They questioned the sudden appearance of the shotgun in Emefiele’s residence after his arrest, suggesting that evidence was being manufactured.

The stakeholders emphasized the serial contempt and disobedience of court orders in Emefiele’s case. “Despite nearly half a dozen court rulings in favor of his release or granting bail, these orders were consistently ignored by the DSS,” Kanene said.

The group argued that the root cause of Emefiele’s persecution lies in the naira redesign policy initiated during President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure. The policy, aimed at reducing inflation and curbing vote-buying by changing the face of Nigeria’s currency, faced opposition from some politicians. Emefiele, as the head of the CBN, became a target for following directives from his boss, the former president,” he said.

The stakeholders appealed to President Bola Tinubu, saying now that the elections are over, to show magnanimity in victory and allow Emefiele to return home with honour and dignity. They urged the president to release Emefiele, who had served creditably well, allowing him to take his well-deserved rest.

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