Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),Allegedly Funding Terrorism by SSS

Central Bank of Nigeria Governor

The State Security Service (SSS) has claimed in court filings that the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has been paying “unknown gunmen” and members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The documents give the SSS’s missing information regarding the terrorism financing accusation against Mr. Emefiele for the first time.

The separatist group IPOB wants to create an independent Biafra nation out of the five Igbo-dominated states that make up South-East Nigeria and some of the neighboring states.

As far back as September 2017, a court declared and outlawed the gang that has been held responsible for violent crimes in the South-east region in previous years.

In December, the Nigerian media, notably PREMUM TIMES, revealed SSS’s fruitless attempt to get a Federal High Court in Abuja order for Mr. Emefiele’s arrest due to a variety of claims, including funding of terrorism.

After hearing from the attorneys representing SSS, Chief Judge John Tsoho of the Federal High Court declined to accept the request for an order against Mr. Emefile.

In a decision issued on December 9th, the judge denied the application, citing an error in the SSS’s application’s method of operation.

It took 11 days for the Nigerian media, including PREMIUM TIMES, to learn of the court’s decision.

However, the stories were silent on the serious accusations made against Mr. Emefiele by the agency.

PREMIUM TIMES has finally obtained the SSS’s court documents, which reveal stunning details of the agency’s accusations against the CBN governor, eight weeks after the court issued its ruling.

The SSS accused him of undermining President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, funding terrorism, supporting terrorism, and engaging in other economic crimes that had the consequence of compromising Nigeria’s national security.

The agency specifically charged Mr. Emefiele with mismanaging the CBN subsidiary NISRAL and the Anchor Borrowers Program.

Demand for detention

On December 7th, a team of four attorneys from the SSS legal division submitted their complaint against Mr. Emefiele.

However, in contrast to earlier reports that said the application was for an order to have Mr. Emefiele arrested, it actually asked for authorization to hold Mr. Emefile for 60 days in order to wrap up an ongoing investigation into his alleged atrocities.

Because the application was submitted as an ex parte motion, Mr. Emefile was not served with it.

It was backed up by an affidavit signed by SSS official Umar Salihu, who summarized the findings of the serious offences Mr. Emefiele is claimed to have committed.

“There is reasonable suspicion that the respondent (Mr Emefiele) was involved in terrorism financing, aiding and abetting acts of terrorism, economic crimes with a national security component, and for undermining the security of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the deponent claimed.

He stated that in order to hold the respondent for 60 days while an inquiry is ongoing, the agency must ask the court for permission.

He argued that Mr. Emefiele “is a man of means and can easily elude arrest and interfere with current investigation” if freed on bond, which is why the court needed to grant the order.

The deponent highlighted several particular claims for which the agency was looking into Mr. Emefiele, citing “reliable intelligence”.

The charges made in the application are vague and give no indication as to why the CBN governor would have supported the actions of IPOB and other terrorists.

IPOB, terrorism funding

The SSS accused Mr. Emefiele of sponsoring terrorism, unidentified gunmen terrorizing the South-east region, the IPOB and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network, and other horrifying charges (ESN).

The SSS said that Mr. Emefiele sponsored them using money taken from government coffers as well as funds he earned for his failed presidential attempt the previous year.

As the current governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Emefiele made a contentious run for the party’s presidential nomination last year. Prior to the party’s primary election, pictures of his campaign cars and other materials appeared online.

Additionally, he applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja for a ruling upholding his eligibility to compete for the APC ticket. However, on May 9, the court disregarded Mr. Emefiele’s request.

Mr. Emefiele “procures a number of vehicles and distributed monies for his bungled presidential ambition,” the Nigerian intelligence agency claimed in its report in December.

The statement further stated that “the aforementioned cash and vehicles are being channeled into funding of Unknown Gunmen, Eastern Security Network (ESN), and elements of IPOB, a proscribed organization.”

Additionally, the agency said that Mr. Emefiele engaged in “criminal conspiracy to channel government resources into suspicious acts of terrorism financing” on “many times in conduct injurious to the security of the Nigerian state.”

It said that the CBN governor’s actions were “meant to undermine and ruin” the presidency of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But despite the seriousness of the accusations, which come from the government’s premier intelligence service, Mr. Buhari has continued to meet privately with Mr. Emefiele since December. This raises concerns about the president’s attitude toward the “credible intelligence” the SSS claimed to have regarding the head banker of the country.

When the SSS connected Mr. Emefiele to the funding of the outlawed group in December, it was keeping IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu in custody. The SSS is at the vanguard of the government’s efforts to suppress separatist activities across the nation.

The SSS, the Presidency, or Mr. Emefiele have not responded to the claims.

Money laundering, fraud, mismanagement of interventionist funds

Also charged with “fraud, money laundering, round-tripping, and conferring of financial gain to self and others,” Mr. Emefiele was accused by the SSS.

According to the SSS, Mr. Emefiele is also involved in the improper management of numerous government interventionist monies that are under his management.

The SSS accused Mr. Emefiele of mismanaging funds from the Anchor Borrowers Scheme and the Social Investment Programme (NISRAL). The two organizations are interventionist programs designed to increase food production and support farmers.

Additionally, the SSS charged Mr. Emefiele with mismanaging “other important economic sectors of the economy.”

Emefiele’s syndicate

The SSS made the astounding assertion that it was pursuing members of a criminal organization, of whom Mr. Emefiele is reportedly a member.

According to the statement, “wider scale investigations are still underway since it is necessary to locate and apprehend further individuals of the syndicate chain in order to successfully prosecute.”

In addition to charging Mr. Emefiele with supporting terrorism, the agency claimed that he employed go-betweens from his alleged gang “to carry out his illicit economic crimes of national security dimension with significant threat to the country’s security.”

Why court rejected SSS’ application

However, the court, Mr. Tsoho, cited a weakness in the process used by the agency to get an order for Mr. Emefiele’s 60-day detention when he rejected SSS’ plea on December 9, 2022.

He asserted that the suspect should have been taken into custody without a court warrant prior to the secret police making their request.

The judge stated, “This is not the case here, as Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, was shown on television, even last night, having an audience with the President of Nigeria. The petitioner appears to be planning to utilize the court as a front for an improper operation, which is inappropriate.

The judge stated that because President Buhari “occupies…a sensitive position as one of the key drivers of the nation’s economy,” “an application of this kind (by the SSS) should have evidence of the approval of the respondent (Emefiele’s) boss (President Buhari), that such measures are authorised to be taken.”

The judge said, “I deny to grant this application ex parte.”

Nigerian Senior Advocate Femi Falana claimed that the allegations made by the SSS against Mr. Emefiele had caused investors to lose faith in the country’s economy.

The senior attorney told PREMIUM TIMES over the phone: “Nobody will want to do business with your country when the president of the Central Bank is a terrorism suspect.”

Lamido Sanusi, a former Emir of Kano, was similarly accused of supporting terrorism by the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration in 2014 and ousted from power, Mr. Falana remembered.

Olisa Agbakoba, a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), praised the judge for rejecting what he called “the worthless plea by the SSS to arrest the CBN governor” and tasked the secret police with suing Mr. Emefiele if “there is evidence.”

CBN governor and his troubles

Nigerians widely denounced Mr. Emefiele’s entry into politics last year, when he ran for the APC presidential nomination while still serving as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

One of the reliable sources that initially revealed Mr. Emefiele’s secret presidential campaign was an editorial in the PREMIUM TIMES, which urged him to either openly deny it or leave from his position right now so he could pursue his political ambitions.

The CBN continues to get flak for subjecting Nigerians to hardships brought on by a lack of the recently introduced naira notes. Nigerians requested the CBN governor to change the policy after complaining about the lack of new naira notes.

At Automated Teller Machines, the sole location where cash can be withdrawn, the redesigned 200, 500, and 1000 notes are difficult to find.

However, many have argued that Mr. Emefiele’s 10-day extension from the original deadline of January 31 to February 10 is insufficient to remedy the severe shortage of the new notes.

Bola Tinubu, the APC’s presidential candidate, criticized the limited supply of the new bank notes and added that it was a plot to undermine his prospects of winning the election in a covert allusion to monetary policy.

Mr. Emefiele said that old naira notes would still be accepted by banks even after the deadline of 10 February when testifying before the House of Representatives.

Joshua Alobo, a law lecturer, had sued the CBN to request a deadline extension.

The introduction of newly designed 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes into the financial system was announced by the apex bank on October 26, 2022.

But because so many people are lining up at ATMs to withdraw cash, getting access to the new notes still seems impossible.




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