In a recent ruling, the Federal High Court in Abuja granted former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, until January 25 to appear in court and provide clarity on the $53 million judgment debt arising from the Paris Club refund. Justice Inyang Ekwo warned that failing to appear would result in a warrant for Emefiele’s arrest.
This development followed a plea by Emefiele’s counsel, Audu Anuga (SAN), who informed the court that all efforts to secure his client’s appearance had been unsuccessful, citing his current custody status. The legal proceedings were initiated by the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Joe Agi, seeking to recover a judgment debt of $70 million.
Despite previous orders for Emefiele’s appearance, the court has extended the deadline, allowing his counsel to file an affidavit to show cause against the arrest warrant. The legal officer in the CBN’s Legal Department, Jeremiah Utaan, stated in an affidavit that Emefiele had been in the custody of the Department of State Services since June 10, urging the court to consider the constraints on his attendance.
Addressing the court, Justice Ekwo emphasized the importance of compliance with court orders, stating, “Orders of court must be complied with, and even if no one complies with the order of the court, the court must comply with its order.” The judge granted additional time for Emefiele’s response and adjourned the matter until January 25.
The ongoing legal battle involves a garnishee proceeding initiated against the CBN for the recovery of the outstanding $53 million. The court’s decision reflects its commitment to upholding due process and ensuring the appearance of involved parties in the interest of justice.