Abuja — The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to put his house in order and save the country from, “repeated, unwarranted national embarrassments.”
The advised was is contained in a statement made available in Abuja, yesterday, by the SMBLF and signed by its leaders, Chief Edwin Clark, (South – South/PANDEF); Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere); Dr. Pogu Bitrus (President, Middle Belt Forum) and Ambassador Okey Emuchay, (Secretary-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide).
The Senior Citizens explained that the Call, “became necessary following the reported recent, disgraceful, attempt by the Department of State Service (DSS) to surreptitiously obtain an ex-parte order from the Federal High Court, Abuja, to arrest and detain the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.”
The action of the DSS, according to the elders, was, “not only a travesty of the nation’s judiciary, but also a grave disservice to the Nigerian state, and a mortification of the nation’s image.”
Part of the statement read: “It is unthinkable that the DSS would recklessly and carelessly accuse Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, of financing terrorism and involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension.
“This is not only shameful but a disgrace to the Buhari administration and the Nation. And capable of unsettling the socioeconomic tractions of the country.
“What is the evidence that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is involved in terrorism financing?
“If the allegations against the CBN Governor are genuine, why didn’t the DSS present its findings to the President for consideration and necessary action?
“It is common knowledge that the Governor the Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has been carrying out Mr. President’s directives and instructions religiously.
“We wonder whether it is those instructions given to him by the President, which he carries out that make him to be a terrorism sponsor or there are personal actions and activities he has carried out without the president’s approval and instruction?
“The CBN Governor who has been doing everything to salvage the nation’s economy with several intervention schemes in agriculture and SMEs, among others, to ensure that individuals, households and businesses across all sectors of the economy receive support to sustain their operations and livelihoods, especially during COVID and even in post-COVID era.
“It was thwarting that the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, practically “apple-polished” certain sections of the country with the apex bank’s intervention schemes to boost production of farm commodities, providing smallholder farmers with inputs, in kind and cash, particularly in the Northern States that supposedly have comparative advantage to produce rice, maize, wheat, cotton, tomato, roots and tubers like cassava, potatoes, yam, among others.”
The statement added: “The CBN interventions have reportedly led to huge drop in rice importation, in recent years; which has been publicised widely as one the key achievements of the Buhari administration. Sadly, the same Godwin Emefiele is now being labeled terrorism sponsor. What a shame!
“It is bemusing that Mr. Yusuf Bichi (the Director General of the Department of State Services), and his backers, presumed all citizens have been ‘conquered’.
“Allegedly acting on a petition, the DSS filed a secret suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on 7 December, under Section 66 of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022 to request a court order for Mr. Emefiele’s arrest and detention for 60 days, in the first instance.
“The respected judge, Justice John Tsoho, who is the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in his ruling on 9th December 2022, rejected the application on the grounds that the DSS failed to provide sufficient evidence to warrant the issuance of an arrest warrant against Mr. Emefiele”
SMBLF applauded the courage and bravery of the judge.
The group stated that it was gratifying to know that there were still men and women of character and integrity, who could firmly defend and uphold justice, without fear or favour.
It noted that by the singular act, Justice Tsoho had written his name in gold, and shall remain indelible in the hearts and minds of all patriotic Nigerians and people of goodwill across the world.
“The judge in his ruling also inferred that there was no seeming indication that the President approved the action of the DSS.
“Now, if indeed, President Muhammadu Buhari was not aware of the plot, then, it would be inexcusable to allow Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi remain a moment longer in office as Director-General of the Department State Services,” it added.
The SMBLF accordingly demanded that Bichi, “should be relieved of his position, without any delay, for being disloyal and discourteous to the President and the nation.”
The SMBLF added, “Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi should also be made to render an unreserved public apology to the nation and to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
“We are not in the least surprised at the way and manner Mr. Yusuf Bichi has been running the DSS since he assumed that office; his appointment as Director General of the DSS itself, in the first place, leaves much to be desired.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, not minding that appointments in the top hierarchy of the Military, Paramilitary, Security and Intelligence related agencies were already skewed and grossly lopsided in favour of the North, went ahead to, on 18th September6 2018, appoint Yusuf Magaji Bichi, from Kano State, who had retired from the service, to replace Mr. Matthew Seiyefa from Bayelsa State who was appointed as Acting Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), on 7th August 2018, by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, then Acting President, following the sack of Lawal Musa Daura.
“Truth be told, there are elements within, and outside, the Buhari administration that do not want Mr. Godwin Emefiele to remain in office, as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“The reasons are not farfetched: recall that, barely forty-eight hours after the announcement of the redesign of the Country’s currency, by the CBN, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, disowned the Policy.
“The minister went on to assert that the redesigning, which the apex bank said was aimed at fighting banditry and kidnapping for ransom, controlling the amount of money in circulation, fighting inflation, and addressing issues of corruption and hoarding of naira notes.
“We cannot continue to run Nigeria like a Banana Republic, or a private Estate of some individuals, or groups.
“We warn that, if anything untoward should happen to Mr. Emefiele Godwin, there shall be severe consequences. This country belongs to all of us. Enough is Enough!
“We commend the Civil Society Organisations, YouthbGroups, and prominent individuals, across the country, for the patriotism and unanimity demonstrated in condemning the deplorable action of the DSS.
“This is the sort of unison Nigeria needs and deserves. Whether we are from the North or South, East or West, we must all work together to sustain, always strengthening the unity, stability and progress of our dear Country, Nigeria.”
The SMBLF cautioned politicians seeking elective offices in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, and their supporters, at all levels, to exercise restraint in their quest for power.
“They do not have to destroy the country or any Nigerian, to attain their ambitions. Power comes from God and he bestows it to whomsoever he wishes, ” the statement added.