Sanusi Files Suit At Abuja High Court For Reinstatement

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
  • Labour, NGF condemn suspension  
  • NLC demands CBN Gov’s apology, prosecution of Oduah

Feb 26, 2014


Chuks Okocha, Tobi Soniyi   and Linda Eroke

The suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has filed another suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja asking for an interlocutory order restraining President Goodluck Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police (IG) from giving effect to his purported suspension from office as the governor of the CBN, pending the determination of his suit.

He also wants the court to make an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from obstructing, disturbing, stopping or preventing him in any manner whatsoever from performing the functions of his office as the governor of the CBN and enjoying in full, the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office of the governor of CBN.

In the suit filed by his lawyer led by Chief Kola Awodein (SAN), Sanusi told the court that his interlocutory application was necessary because of the issues raised in the suit and that any delay might cause irreparable and serious damage and mischief to him in the exercise of his statutory duties as the CBN governor.

He urged the court to exercise its discretion in his favour by granting the interlocutory injunctions, saying the president’s continuing unlawful interference with the management and administration of the central bank, unless arrested, posed a grave danger to Nigeria’s economy. He urged the court to grant his application as it would result in maintaining the status quo ante bellum, that is, for his return to his office as the governor of the CBN.

In the affidavit deposed to in support of his application, Sanusi said in the course of his duties as the CBN governor, he discovered certain discrepancies in respect of amounts repatriated to the Federation Account from the proceeds of crude oil sales between the period of January 2012 and July 2013 and that he expressed concern in respect of the said discrepancies and had cause to inform the National Assembly of the said discrepancies, because they affected the revenue of the federation and the national economy.

He further stated that the action of President Goodluck Jonathan, in purporting to suspend him from office, was aimed at punishing him for these disclosures.

He also stated that he was challenging the president’s power to suspend him from office, noting that the president did not approach nor obtain the support of the Senate, based on his discussions with several senators, including Senator Bukola Saraki.

He said: “I have been informed, and I verily believe the information given to me by Senator Bukola Saraki to be true and correct that the Senate did not give the president any support for my purported suspension and removal from office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

Sanusi further stated that the actions of the president in suspending him from office was contrary to the provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act relating to the appointment and removal of the CBN governor and that his purported suspension amounted to unlawful interference in the administration and management of the central bank and is therefore illegal, null and void.

He urged the court, in the interest of justice, to grant his reliefs.
The suit, which was filed late Monday afternoon, was still at the Federal High Court’s Registry in Abuja and had not been assigned to a judge.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have condemned the suspension slammed on Sanusi by Jonathan.

The NLC has also called for the prosecution of the recently sacked Aviation Minister, Ms. Stella Oduah, as well as all those involved in various financial scandals such as the missing funds from Subsidy Re-Investment Programme (SURE-P), the purchase of bulletproof cars and unremitted crude oil money to the Federation Account.

The NLC while reacting to the suspension of Sanusi urged the president not to dissipate energy on his removal, but “focus on irrefutable cases of corruption by bringing those involved in various financial scandals to book”.

NLC President, Abdulwahed Omar, who made this call in a statement, urged government not to lose sight of its fight against corruption, stressing that “government’s commitment to the scourge should be demonstrable, clear and unambiguous”.
On the suspension of the CBN governor, Omar faulted the process leading to his removal, adding that due process was not followed.

He also condemned the manner in which the president appointed a replacement for Sanusi, when investigations had not been completed.

He said the action of Jonathan was capable of discouraging future whistle blowers in government as well as casting a pall on government’s fight against corruption, stressing that none of this was good for the image of the government.

Indeed, he said government’s action was negatively pre-emptive and malicious in view of the fact that full investigations into the allegations had not been concluded before the governor was suspended.

He however blamed Sanusi for not resigning after misleading Nigerians on the alleged sums not accounted for by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

According to him, Sanusi was expected to have turned in his letter of resignation the next day for getting the figures wrong, for misleading the public and for embarrassing the government, his excuse of poor communications between the relevant institutions in question notwithstanding.

“While we hold Sanusi accountable for not doing his homework properly before going public on an issue as sensitive as this, especially considering the sum involved, we believe the process of his removal was patently flawed and ridiculed due process as well as being contemptuous of the Act establishing the CBN.

“Sanusi’s sins notwithstanding, government must not only follow the law but must be seen to follow the law. Rather than dissipate energy on ‘Sanusimania’, government should focus on the irrefutable cases of corruption and bring the culprits to book.
“They are legion but we dare mention only the Sure-P missing funds, the BMW bullet proof cars and the Sanusi revelations at NNPC.
“It is common knowledge that over the years NNPC has not come clean on the issue of remittances to the Federation Account, a fact responsible for the routine shunning of invitations by the National Assembly.

“In our view, the most important thing is that government should not lose sight of its fight against corruption which is the major issue here. Government’s commitment to this scourge should be demonstrable, clear and unambiguous,” Omar said.

In the same vein, the governors following a meeting Monday night, condemned the suspension of Sanusi by the president, accusing him of breaching the constitution and the provisions of the CBN Act.

The Chibuike Amaechi-led NGF insisted that the action of the president in suspending the CBN governor was illegal.

Arising from its meeting that lasted for over four hours and ended in the early morning of yesterday, the governors said: “The suspension of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, by the president was in clear breach of the Nigerian Constitution and the CBN Act.”

The communiqué further said: “The suspension was aimed at diverting attention from the current national discourse on the unremitted $20 billion from the NNPC Account, allegations of corruption and questionable accountability.

“We support the call of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and the Senate Committee on Finance for a forensic audit of NNPC.”

Continuing, the governors, in their communiqué, added: “The forum reiterates its concern about the deliberate refusal of the presidency to convene the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting for seven months. This has emasculated the constitutional opportunity to discuss the perilous state of the Nigerian economy, thus plunging the nation into economic and political crisis.”

In addition, the governors appealed to the judiciary particularly the Supreme Court, to accelerate the hearing on the constitutional cases especially the case of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and the illegal deductions from the Federation Account.
On the security challenges in the North-east occasioned by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, the governors said: “Members condemn in totality the spate of killings in the North-east. We commend the Nigerian military and other security agencies in the effort to quell this.
“However, we expect that the federal government should wake up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property in the country especially in the North-east.”

On the allegation that the federal government is behind the plot to impeach the Governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, the NGF said: “It has come to our notice that the presidency is plotting to illegally impeach the Governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. We condemn this renewed assault on constitutional democracy.”

The meeting which took place at the Rivers state governor’s lodge in Abuja was attended by Governors Amaechi (Rivers); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Al-Makura (Nasarawa); Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano); Babatunde Fashola (Lagos); Rochas Okorocha (Imo); and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto). Others present were deputy governors who represented their governors from Osun, Borno and Edo States.