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Emefiele pursues an appeal and opposes the judge’s decision

Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has filed an appeal against a Federal High Court verdict in Abuja ordering him to appear in a $53 million judgment debt litigation.

Last year, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the FHC summoned the CBN governor over his alleged unwillingness to respect the court’s direction for the payment of the judgment debt in favour of a legal practitioner, Joe Agi (SAN).

Although the court had ordered Emefiele to appear in court on January 18 (Wednesday), proceedings were halted when the matter was called, causing the court to defer the case until March 20.

The summons was issued in connection with the litigation NO: FHC/ABJ/CS/1193/2017, filed by Joe Agi (SAN) against Linas International Ltd, the Minister of Finance, and the CBN.

However, Emefiele argued in his notice of appeal on three grounds that Justice Ekwo erred in law and caused a miscarriage of justice when he ordered his attendance in court for the $53 million debt.

The CBN governor informed the appellate court that the appeals CA/A/476/2018 between CBN and Joe Agi (SAN) and two others, as well as CA/A/23/2020 between CBN and Joe Agi (SAN) and two others, which were appeals against the judgment sought to be enforced by the judgment summons, had been filed with the Court of Appeal.

Emefiele, through his lawyer, Damien Dodo (SAN), filed an appeal on January 13, 2023, arguing that the proceedings to compel his appearance after appeals were filed put the trial court in a position where it was exercising concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Appeal over the same subject matter.

He further claimed that the trial judge committed a legal error that resulted in a miscarriage of justice by compelling and ordering him to personally present in court without ruling on his application challenging the court’s jurisdiction.

As a result, he brought the appellate court’s attention to his application filed on January 27, 2020, disputing the court’s jurisdiction as well as the service of forms 13 and 15 on him for failing to comply with the necessary conditions of section 56, part IV, of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act.

Emefiele claimed that on February 22, 2022, the appellants jointly filed an application seeking a reversal of the issuance and service of forms 13 and 15 on him, claiming that they should not have been issued during the pendency of the two aforementioned appeals and the pending motions on notice for a stay of execution dated March 26, 2018, and July 11, 2019, respectively.

The appellant also claimed that the lower court committed a legal error, resulting in a miscarriage of justice, by ordering him to appear in court on January 18, 2023, despite the fact that he is not a party to the dispute before it.

As a result, he petitioned the appellate court to hear his case and reverse the orders of the Federal High Court.

Meanwhile, the presence of a police squad at the CBN governor’s home in the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday sparked outrage.

The armed police officers, totaling more than ten, were observed by our correspondent at 8.40 p.m. Tuesday at the Maitama, Abuja, house of the apex bank’s troubled governor.

The police presence was denied by the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters and the Federal Capital Territory Police Command.

According to police sources, the security team was present to ensure the CBN governor appeared in court on Wednesday.

Emefiele was called by the Federal High Court in Abuja for the $53 million judgment obligation emanating from the Paris Club reimbursement.

In a garnishee action filed on October 20, 2022, Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the CBN governor to appear in court on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

Prior to this, the court ruled on January 23, 2020, that Emefiele must appear “to be examined on oath touching the means you have or have had, since the date of the said garnishee order absolute, to pay the balance of $53m now due and payable under the said garnishee order absolute, and also show cause why you should not be committed to prison for default in payment of the said sum,”

The complaint arose from an alleged $70 million judgment against Linas for his services in the Paris Club return.

The CBN governor was claimed to have left an outstanding amount of $53 million after only releasing $17 million.

Deji Ajare, a lawyer, commented on the situation, saying that the police might compel Emefiele to appear in court based on a court order.

“The police have the constitutional authority to arrest and bring someone to court. They can also enforce a court order ordering a person or official to appear in court,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Department of State Services allegedly questioned CBN deputy governors on Monday as part of an audit.

Meanwhile, the dispute between the CBN governor and the DSS over an arrest plan appeared to be on wait when Emefiele returned to duty on Monday.

He returned to the central bank’s headquarters in Abuja after spending many weeks in the United Kingdom and the United States as a result of alleged DSS attempts to arrest him.

The CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, said in a statement that the governor has returned to work following worries about his absence since last month.

On Monday, the DSS denied entering the CBN’s headquarters in Abuja.

This followed allegations in several media sites (but not The PUNCH) that the DSS had invaded the CBN offices and arrested the apex bank’s governor.

The DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, denied arresting Emefiele in a statement issued on Monday.

This followed allegations in several media sites (but not The PUNCH) that the DSS had invaded the CBN offices and arrested the apex bank’s governor.

The DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, denied arresting Emefiele in a statement issued on Monday.

However, the incident appeared to have put a temporary halt to the DSS’s purported scheme to arrest the country’s top banker.

Emefiele, possibly the most contentious and controversial CBN governor in the country’s recent history, fled the country last month after the secret service sought an arrest warrant from an Abuja court on claims of supporting terrorism and money laundering, among other things.

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