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Court Orders Immediate Release Of Emefiele From DSS Custody

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Barely 24 hours after an FCT High Court sitting in Abuja ordered the release of the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, from detention, another FCT High Court, on Friday, has also nullified his arrest, detention and interrogation by the Department of State Services (DSS).

In a judgment upon an Originating Motion on Notice brought before the Court by Mr. Emefiele, against Incorporated Trustees of Forum for Accountability and Good Leadership, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Inspector General of Police, State Security Service (SSS) and the Central Bank of Nigeria, the presiding Judge held that the arrest, detention and interrogation of Emefiele were in violation of the subsisting judgment and orders of Justice M. A. Hassan in Suit No. FCT/HC/GAR/CV/41/2022.

Mr. Emefiele through his Counsel, Mr. Peter Abang, had asked the court to set aside, quash, invalidate and nullify the arrest and detention of the Applicant for being illegal and a nullity in view of the subsisting judgment of Justice M. A. Hassan delivered on December 29, 2022.

In another prayer granted by Hon. Justice Bello Kawu, the Court made an order setting aside, voiding, quashing, invalidating and nullifying any warrant of arrest obtained or procured by the Respondents, especially the DSS for the arrest, detention and/or interrogation of Mr. Emefiele in connection with the allegations of terrorism financing, fraudulent practices, money laundering, round tripping, threat to national security before or from any court since the date of the judgment of Justice M. A. Hassan.

Furthermore, the Court granted an injunction restraining the Respondents, particularly the DSS from arresting, detaining, further detaining or proceeding against, breaching or interfering with Mr. Emefiele’s personal liberty and freedom of movement or taking any other steps against him in connection with any allegations of terrorism financing, fraudulent practices, money laundering, round tripping, threat to national security before or from any court since the date of the judgment of Justice M. A. Hassan.

The Court finally granted an order of injunction directing and mandating the Respondents, particularly the DSS to forthwith release and unfetter Mr. Emefiele from any arrest, detention, custody, interrogation with regard to allegations of terrorism financing, fraudulent practices, money laundering, round tripping, threat to national security before or from any court in view of the subsisting judgment of Justice M. A. Hassan.

In his reaction to the latest judgment, Counsel to Mr. Emefiele told journalists that beyond the release of his client, that Nigerians must celebrate the fact that Nigerian judges despite several acts of intimidation by security agencies and the some unfavourable conditions under which they work are bold to dispense justice not minding whose ox is gored.

He called on the DSS to immediate comply with the orders of the court and release his client so that he can go and look after his failing health aggravated by over one month of illegal and unlawful arrest and detention.

This judgment is the third favourable judgment the former CBN helmsman is getting against the DSS yet he has remained in detention for over a month.

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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