The President of the Industrial Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, will on 13 June decide if it will go ahead to hear the case filed by suspended Governor of Central Bank Mr Lamido Sanusi challenging his suspension by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The decision followed an oral appeal by counsel to President Jonathan, Mr Mike Ozehkome, seeking for a stay of proceeding pending the hearing and determination of its appeal by the appellate court.
According to Mr Ozekhome all the parties in the case had filed an appeal challenging the ruling of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, which transferred the case from his court to the National Industrial Court.
Justice Adejumo, however, urged the parties to file an appeal before his court asking for a stay of proceedings, saying he cannot decline the order of the high court mandating him to hear the suit in line with section 47 of the 1999 constitution.
Sanusi, whose tenure is supposed to end in June, was suspended on allegations of financial recklessness. He has denied the allegation.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday fixed March 21 to hear a case filed by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Sanusi Lamido, seeking the enforcement of his Fundamental Right.
In the suit filed through one of his counsels, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, the suspended CBN governor is seeking an order that will restrain the police and officers of the State Security Service (SSS) from arresting, detaining or otherwise harassing him.
Joined as respondents in the suit are; the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Inspector General of Police (IGP), and the SSS.
At the hearing of the case on Friday, the lawyers representing the respondents made their applications for adjournment.
Calls For Adjournment
Counsel to the AGF, Dr Oscar Nliam, holding the brief of Mr Mike Ozekhome, informed the court that his office had just been briefed of the matter.
He told the court that they were yet to receive all the processes filed by the applicant and called for a short adjournment to enable him collate all processes.
Counsel representing the IGP, Mr Chukwu Agwu, on his part, informed the court that he was only notified last night by his boss from the force headquarters that the suit would be coming up in court.
He said that the second respondent was yet to receive the processes, and also requested that the court should adjourn the case to enable him look at the processes when they arrive.
The counsel representing the SSS, Mr Ahmed Musa, also requested for an adjournment, saying that it will be to their favour especially as parties are still within time of filing.
Counsel representing Mr Lamido Sanusi in court, Mr Kola Awodehin, did not object to the prayers for adjournment, but noted that the suit bordered on Fundamental Rights Enforcement, and ought to be dealt with expeditiously.
Justice Buba however, in a short ruling, adjourned the case to March 21 for hearing.
The court had on February 21, granted an interim order of injunction, restraining the respondents from arresting, detaining, or harassing the applicant, pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The interim order was sequel to an affidavit of urgency filed by the suspended CBN governor on the same date.
The court had also granted the applicant leave to serve the Originating Summons and other accompanying court processes on the respondents and had fixed Friday, February 28, for hearing of the motion.
A faction of the Nigerian governors’ forum headed by the Rivers State governor has condemned the suspension of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, describing it as a clear breach of the Nigerian constitution and the CBN Act.
In a meeting that took place in Abuja and ended in the early hours of Tuesday, the governors said the suspension appeared aimed at diverting focus from the allegations of corruption and the missing 20 billion dollars from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
In the resolutions read by the chairman, Governor Chibuike Amaechi, the forum also joined the call for a forensic audit of the NNPC’s account.
“The suspension of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by the president is a clear breach of the Nigerian constitution and the CBN Act of 2007.
“It is a diversion form the current national discourse on the allegations of corruption and questionable accountability of the NNPC.
“We support the call by the Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Senate Committee on Finance for a forensic audit of the NNPC’s account.”
Governor Ameachi and other governors deplored what they called a deliberate refusal of the presidency to convene the National Economic Council meeting for the past seven months.
“The refusal of the president to convene a national Economic Council meeting has hindered the constitutional opportunity to discuss the perilous sate of the Nigerian Economy thus plunging the nation into economic and political crises,” governor Ameachi said, reading from the resolutions.
They called on the Judiciary to expedite action on the hearing of constitutional cases, especially the case of the excess crude account and the illegal deductions on oil subsidy.
The forum also took positions on the issue of increasing insecurity in the north east where the Boko Haram sect had carried out several attacks recently.
The governors called on the Federal Government to wake up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property in the country especially in the north east.
The National Assembly in Nigeria has begun investigations into the Kerosene Subsidy that the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria says is still being deducted even after the government had given a directive to stop it.
It is a household product but the masses have expressed the hardship they face in getting the product at a high amount.
Based on the policy establishing the subsidy, the cost price is not supposed to exceed 50 Naira per litre but at the moment the product goes for over 150 Naira, a situation that the Senate described as unacceptable.
They insisted on an outright stoppage of the subsidy since Nigerians cannot get the product at the supposed price of 50 Naira.
Senator Isah Galaudu, a member of the Senate Committee on Finance said that the claim that the price of Kerosene will sky rocket if the subsidy was removed was baseless.
“Now the supply is being maneuverer by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) because they are the only ones importing Kerosene. If you remove subsidy, independent individuals will import Kerosene and will be cheaper,” he said.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said that sharp practices of marketers had led to the increase in the price of the product, advising Nigerians to insist on the right price.
The Senate also looked at the suspension of the governor of the Central Bank Nigeria, who was suspended for alleged financial recklessness.
A letter sent to the Senate by the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, recommending a successor was read on the floor of the Senate.
Godwin Emefiele, was recommended as Sanusi’s successor while Mr Adelabu Adekola was recommended as the deputy governor.
The tenure of the suspended CBN governor will expire in June 1.
The House of Representatives condemned the suspension of the CBN governor, questioning the credibility of the process. Some members insisted that the investigation into the alleged missing money should have been concluded before Sanusi’s suspension.
While commenting on the issue, a lawyer, Aja Nwani Aja, said that the issue of suspension was not mentioned in the CBN Act.
He said: “The act of suspension is not contemplated by the law, it is not provided in the law and therefore, to me, it is illegal”.
The suspended governor of the CBN has said that he will contest the suspension decision in court to ensure that subsequent governors of the Central Bank will be able to work without fear of being removed without due process.
The House of Representatives on Monday stressed its stand in the on-going controversy over the suspension of the Central Bank Governor by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Through its spokesman, Zakari Mohammed, the lawmakers pointed out that they had nothing against the president for exercising his powers under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act to remove the CBN Governor.
“We are concerned that people read that CBN Act just by half and then stop. That is worrisome,” he said.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Monday, Mr Mohammed expressed the House’s concern about the President’s disregard of the rules of removing the CBN Governor, as stated in the CBN Act.
“Section 11(2F) of the Act states categorically that the CBN Governor can be removed provided it’s supported by two-third majority of the Senate and in this case, we don’t know whether a communication has been sent to the Senate, requesting the removal of the CBN Governor. That is what we are worried about,” he said.
He further stated: “We, in the House of Representatives, want institutions to be built and not individuals. We are not bothered by all the misconducts put together. We are worried about the process of removal because if we as the parliament brought out an Act in 2007 and the Act is being abused, we should stand by it and insist that the right thing should be done.”
Mohammed, who stressed that the President had the right to remove Sanusi, insisted that such an act must be approved by the Senate before it was carried out, contrary to assertions of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, who had aired his views earlier on the programme.
He further accused the President of being selective in the laws he chose to follow as he had sent the names of his nominees to the National Assembly following the suspension which he went ahead to execute without due process.
“The House of Representatives is not saying that a public officer should not be sanctioned but we are saying that the right procedure should be followed,” he said.
The Members of the Kano emirate called Dabo Family Women Association have gathered to celebrate the suspension of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor, Sanusi Lamido.
Addressing a news conference at the Emir’s palace on Saturday, a family member, Hajia Binta Sanusi, said that the suspension was “an honour done to their son who served his country truthfully and was later rewarded with mischievous allegations”.
The women, comprising mothers, sisters and in-laws of the suspended apex bank governor, seemed happy even when some Nigerians have condemned the suspension.
They said there was no course for alarm, as Sanusi had proved to be trust worthy, having transformed the Nigerian economy in five years.
The CBN governor was suspended on allegations of financial recklessness, an claim the women called baseless, saying their son and brother is not a thief.
Sanusi Considering Farming
The Kano Emirate Council in a press statement signed by the Galadima of Kano, Tijhani Hashim, called for an immediate reinstatement of Mr Sanusi.
The statement further accused the Federal Government of witch-hunting the CBN governor over his position on the $20 billion diverted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Sanusi had accused the corporation of not remitting the said $20 billion into the Federation Account.
Sanusi told Channels Television that if called back he would not take the job, insisting that he had made a mark within the less than 5-year period he had held the position.
“The suspension is like taking a burden off my shoulders. I am looking at going into farming. I have discovered that Tomatoes cost much on the streets of Lagos and London and there is a lot of profit,” Sanusi said.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Dr Bukola Saraki, has condemned the removal of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, describing it as unconstitutional and capable of eroding the independence of the Central Bank.
While briefing journalists at his residence in Ilorin in Kwara State on Saturday, Senator Saraki noted that the president was ill advised in taking the decision of suspending Sanusi, pointing out that, if allowed to go unchallenged, it will send wrong signals.
“Subsequent governors of the bank will not be free as they could be removed anyhow and anytime,” he said.
Senator Saraki noted that the Act was clear on how the CBN boss could be removed.
He said: “Whatever may be the reason for his suspension, it did not follow due process and the action can send wrong signals to foreign investors”.
The Central Bank’s governor was suspended on Thursday by the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, citing issues of financial recklessness.
Mr Sanusi says he will challenge the right of the president to suspend him in court, insisting that it is an aberration.
The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, has said that the suspension of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, will not have negative effect on the nation’s monetary policies.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday few hours after the suspension, the spokesman for the president, Dr Reuben Abati, reassured investors that the government was committed to the stability of the economy, the Naira and the country’s monetary policies.
“The monetary policy of Nigeria remains the same and there is stability within the system and so investors within the Nigerian economy have no reason whatsoever to fear. That decision was taken only with regard to internal governance issues within the Central Bank,” Dr Abati said.
There have been reactions as to the legality of the decision of the president, citing section 11 sub-section 2f of the CBN Act which states that “removal of the CBN’s governor must be endorsed by two-third majority of the Senate”.
An opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had described the suspension as “patently illegal, poorly thought-out and in bad state”, noting that it will definitely have negative consequences for the nation’s economy.
The spokesman of the party, Lai Mohammed, said that the action was the clearest indication yet that president Jonathan was willing to silence any whistle-blower, no matter his or her statues.
The spokesman for the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, Mr Osita Okechukwu, faulted the suspension, saying that “the group is at a loss as to why President Jonathan suspended Sanusi, who of late had been exposing the rot in the polity”.
But Abati disagreed with their assertions, saying that the suspension was not illegal, as it was not removal, but suspension.
“The lady who has taken over in acting capacity has been long within the system and so everyone can remain assured that there will be stability and the institution will remain very strong.
“Under the interpretation Act, the point is that he who hires can also suspend,” Abati said.
He listed some of the reasons for the suspension of the apex bank’s boss to include, the persistent refusal and negligence to comply with the Public Procurement Act in the procurement practices of the CBN and unlawful expenditure by the CBN on intervention projects across the country, deploying huge sums of money without appropriation and outside the CBN’s statutory mandate.
“It is expected that the expenditure of public funds must be based on clear legal mandate, prudent costing and overriding national interest. There are acts of financial recklessness committed by the CBN as reflected in its audited financial statement for 2012,” he said.
Dr Abati also debunked claims that the suspension was in connection with the ongoing appearances at the National Assembly by the suspended CBN governor on issues bordering on Kerosene subsidy and unremitted funds to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Mr Sanusi had claimed that the NNPC did not remit $20 billion, a claim that the National Assembly is currently investigating.