Suspended CBN Governor, Sanusi Denies Funding Boko Haram

sanusi_lamidoThe suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, has denied funding the dreaded Boko Haram group.

Mr Sanusi made this denial through his lawyer, Kola Awodein, at the resumed hearing of his fundamental rights enforcement suit before the Federal High Court in Lagos, which was filed a day after the Governor was suspended from office by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Sanusi also insisted that the Federal Government had failed to substantiate the allegation of terrorism financing leveled against him and stressed that apart from the mere allusion to the allegation of terrorism financing, the Federal Government never produced any evidence before the court to back up such claim.

The suit was filed against the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Bello Adoke; the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar and the Department of State Security (DSS); and it is seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the security agencies from arresting Mr Sanusi without following due process in respect of the allegations against him.

The Federal Government through its lawyer, Mr Fabian Ajogwu, has, however, told the court that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit. He cited Section 254 (C) of the Constitution, which gives only the National Industrial Court the powers to hear a labour dispute between Mr Lamido Sanusi, the employee and Federal Government, the employer.

On the enforcement of Mr Sanusi’s fundamental rights, the lawyer argued that law enforcement agencies cannot be perpetually restrained from carrying out their duties. He contended that the suit was speculative, hypocritical and an attempt to shield Mr Sanusi from the machinery of the administration of justice, which the Federal Government had kick-started. He, therefore, asked the court to strike out the suit.

In his defence, Mr Sanusi has said that he was not afraid of being arrested. He, however, insisted that the court should restrain the Federal Government from arresting him without following due process of law.

Trial Judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba has reserved ruling in the matter till Thursday, April 3, 2014.

The Judge fixed the date after parties argued and adopted their arguments in support and against the suspended Governor’s fundamental rights enforcement suit.

The suspended Governor had predicated the suit on his arrest and detention for about one hour at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja by DSS operatives upon arrival from Niger Republic, shortly after his removal was announced. His passport was also impounded and has since been with the DSS.

Nigeria’s President To Meet With Investors In London

President Goodluck Jonathan will be visiting the United Kingdom on Wednesday for a three-day meeting with foreign investors.

The meeting is aimed at attracting more investments to Nigeria.

Issues that would be discussed at the meeting of Nigeria’s Honourary International Investors’ Council include generating long-term affordable finance for Nigeria’s real sector, developing Nigeria’s private equity and venture capital sectors to attract more foreign investments and Nigeria’s information and communications technology master-plan.

The government’s spokesman, Ruben Abati, said that the council’s meeting, coordinated by Baroness Lynda Chalker, would also feature a review of Nigeria’s existing investment policies by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based international organization dedicated to the promotion of policies that would improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

“President Jonathan will be accompanied by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, Senator Nenadi Usman, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, Hon. Isiaka Bawa, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Olusegun Aganga and the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Lamido Sanusi.

Others on the President’s entourage include the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, the Minister of Special Duties, Mr. Kabiru Turaki, the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Prof. Viola Onwuliri and heads of relevant government agencies”, Abati said in a statement on Tuesday.

The accompanying Ministers and heads of agencies will brief the gathering on developments in their areas of responsibility, and also lead discussions on proposals for overcoming identified challenges.

Some members of the council are the CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, Mr. Mohammed al Shaibani, a former South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Alec Erwin and the Vice President of Hewlett-Packard’s Enterprise Group in Europe and Middle-East and Africa, Mr. Olivier Suinat.

The President is expected back in Nigeria at the weekend.

CBN Launches N220 Billion Fund For Small Businesses

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

The Central Bank has launched a N220 billion micro, small and medium enterprises fund to boost the growth of small businesses in the country.

Addressing participants at a meeting of eight developing countries, D8, the CBN governor, Mr Lamido Sanusi said 60 per cent of the fund will be given to women at an interest rate of nine per cent.

Mr Sanusi said access to the fund will help alleviate poverty and create jobs for the nation’s youths.

Officials of the D8 as well as micro finance experts at a meeting discussed ways to improve the contribution of small businesses to the economy of member countries.

Although growth in the sector has experienced setbacks as a result of inconsistent policy, high interest rate and poor infrastructure, government officials at the gathering expressed hope that the provision of special funds will change the situation.

Statistics have revealed that lending to small businesses reduced from seven per cent to zero point one per cent between 2003 to date.

SERAP Threatens To Sue FG For Spending N700billion In Four months

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has demanded that the federal government should provide information on how it has spent the sum of N700billion which was allegedly borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013.

The civil society group in a statement by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, warned that it would take legal action against the federal government if it fails to provide the information within the next 14 days, as it also demanded “a moratorium on borrowing.”

In the letter dated 27th of May, 2013 and sent to the Accountant-General of the Federation; Mr. Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, SERAP alleged that the funds might “have been mismanaged, diverted or stolen.”

The anti-corruption organization claimed it is making these allegations, relying “heavily on” a recent statement by the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, that “government increased its borrowing in securities by N700billion between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013, and that the government has spent more than N2trillion in four months.”

“SERAP is seriously concerned about this high level of spending by the government within this short period of time, especially given the fact that government borrowed almost the same amount between 2011 and 2012.”

“Whereas the government has borrowed over N6.54trillion from national sources and its external borrowing is growing, there is no evidence on the ground to show that the huge sums of money have been put to good use to benefit millions of economically and socially vulnerable Nigerians. In fact, we fear the money could have been mismanaged, diverted or stolen” the group stated.

“Despite this huge borrowing, the same period also witnessed decreased spending on basic social services such as roads, electricity, health, education, and thus explaining in part why the government has lagged behind in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”

Raising more concerns about the nation’s growing debt SERAP stated that “we are further concerned about the country’s growing debt problem because this will continue to weaken the capacity of this government to fulfill its human rights obligations and commitment, thus throwing millions of Nigerians deeper into poverty.”

Moratorium on debt

“Unless a moratorium on debt borrowing and periodic transparent audits of debt are introduced, the current unsustainable debt situation will continue to jeopardise the well-being of not only the present generation but also the future generation, the organization said.

The organization is relying on Sections 1 (1); 4 (a); and 2(3)(d)(V) & (4) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, for its request.

According to SERAP “the information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act. The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, bothers on an issue of national interest, public concern, interest of human rights, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.”

“The disclosure of the information requested will give SERAP and the general public a true picture and a clear understanding of how the spending of the sums of money borrowed have impacted on the lives of the ordinary, common, poor and indigent and other disadvantaged Nigerians,” the organization said.

SERAP therefore asked the government to provide information on “the amount that has been spent from the N700billion borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013 and details of projects on which this money was spent.”

Provision of Education Is Prerequisite For Curbing Nigeria’s Insecurity – Sanusi

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Lamido Sanusi has asked the federal government to come up with sound policies in the education sector which he says is a prerequisite to address the spate of insecurity in the country.

Mr Sanusi who spoke at a meeting in Abuja said that over three per cent of girls in northern Nigeria who start school fail to complete their education.

And as a way of empowering the nation’s women, he said that the apex bank came up with a recommendation that will ensure that 30 per cent of board members of banks are women.