Ten ‘constitutional lawyers’ who filed a high-profile case against Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele alleging Abuse of Office, Money Laundering, and Gross misconduct, today formally backed out of it.
SaharaReporters had revealed yesterday that the 10 plaintiffs, led by Achilike Anderson Obieze, who is affiliated with the Olumide Ayeni & Co legal chambers in Abuja, planned to discontinue the case after Mr. Emefiele paid them off with N350million.
When the case was called before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja this morning, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs offered to discontinue the lawsuit, and the case was accordingly struck out by the judge.
Other lawyers listed as plaintiffs in the phantom case include Barrister Uchenna Nnadi, Ohazuruike Tochukwu, Fatima Musa, Olamide Buba, Elochukwu Nweke, Hassan Haruna, Amina Abubakar, Eronini Ada and Joy Moses.
The group had boisterously announced the groundbreaking lawsuit anchored by Ezenwa Ibegbunam, but he confirmed to SaharaReporters yesterday that he withdrew from the case after the media reported it.
The other defendants in the suit are President Muhammadu Buhari, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and the Nigeria Senate.
The lawyers loudly proclaimed they were seeking an order to compel the President to initiate the constitutional process of removing the CBN Governor, citing Abuse of Office, Money Laundering, and Gross misconduct.
Riding on the wave of the popular sentiment against a scandalous CBN Employment exercise that was exposed open by SaharaReporters, the lawyers also said they wanted it nullified as it violated all recruitment laws and due process.
As we reported yesterday, we subsequently learned that the entire objective of the case was to extort money from the CBN governor.
The N350m settlement received from Mr. Emefiele, which has not been denied by anyone, means that each of the lawyers involved receives about N35m simply for appending their name to the false alarm.
Contacted about the latest development, a legal analyst in Abuja said this afternoon he hoped the Nigeria Bar Association and the Attorney-General of the Federation would investigate the matter.
“Whatever offences Mr. Emefiele committed are as bad as the ethical issues this lawsuit has uncovered,” he said. “Blackmail, intimidation and extortion seem to have been rewarded here.”