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Nigeria: Suspended Central Bank Governor Charged After Weeks in Detention

The suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria was charged after a month in detention under a court directive Thursday that officials act against the man or let him go, the secret police agency announced.

Godwin Emefiele was charged after being investigated for alleged “criminal infractions,” said Peter Afunanya, spokesman for the secret police, the Department of State Services.

Afunanya’s statement, however, did not specify the charges filed against Emefiele in the capital, Abuja. The police agency had in 2022 accused him of terrorism financing and economic crimes, both of which carry long jail terms.

Shortly after he took office in June, new President Bola Tinubu directed Emefiele’s suspension, saying the move was related to the investigation of his office as the central bank governor and planned reforms in the financial sector.

Emefiele was then taken into custody and has been detained since, prompting him to sue the secret police recently on the grounds of illegal detention and a breach of his human rights.

While ruling on his application earlier Thursday, a high court in Abuja directed that the former central bank governor either be charged within one week or be released.

“The continued detention of the applicant cannot be justified in the absence of any charge against him. At the very least, justice demands that applicant (Emefiele) should be released on administrative bail,” the local judge said.

It is unclear what the duration of Emefiele’s trial could be though such high-profile trials in Nigeria typically last for several months.

The secret police said it would ensure professionalism, justice and fairness in handling the matter.