The Federal High Court in Abuja has granted former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele until January 25 to appear in court and provide an explanation regarding the $53 million judgment debt related to the Paris Club refund.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a short ruling on Tuesday, gave Emefiele another opportunity to appear in court in person or an arrest warrant issued against him.
The development followed a plea by Emefiele and CBN’s counsel, Audu Anuga, SAN, that all efforts to ensure that his client appeared in person on the order of the court were unsuccessful as he was still in custody.
Anuga informed the court that an affidavit to show cause on why arrest warrant should not be issued against Emefiele was filed on October 30.
Justice Ekwo then asked I.A. Nnana, the lawyer who represented Mr Joe Agi, SAN, the judgment creditor/applicant in the suit, if he had been served with the affidavit.
Nnana responded that they were served on Monday, almost at the close of work and that they would like to react.
The judge, who cautioned Anuga against late filing of processes, reminded that the matter came up on July 19.
The senior lawyer, however, explained that all efforts were made until Friday (Oct. 27) to ensure that Emefiele was released on order of the court but the order was not complied with, which necessitated the filing of the affidavit.
Anuga, however, told the court that since parties had been exploring settlement before and the CBN had a new governor, they should be allowed to explore settlement option.
But Justice Ekwo insisted that Emefiele must appear on the next adjourned day.
“As for the 4th respondent (Emefiele), I have always said, contempt proceedings follow a person whether the person Is still there or not.
“In this case, I have given this particular person so much liberty, so much leniency and the situation does not seem to change.
“I will adjourn the matter because the other side says they want to react to the process so there is no much talk.
“Order 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.
“I will give you sufficient time,” he said.
The judge, consequently, adjourned the matter until Jan. 25 for Emefiele to show cause why an arrest warrant should not be issued against him.