The suspended Nigeria Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has thrown down a legal gauntlet, challenging his recent suspension in the law court.
He is challenging his recent removal in a Federal High Court siting in Abuja claiming that Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan who unilaterally removed him from office recently faulted in his action. Sanusi was removed in an announcement made by President Jonathan’s media adviser, Dr Reuben Abati last week.
Sanusi in the law suit filed through a consortium of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Kola Awodein claimed his removal was politically motivated linking his plight to a recently announced missing money from crude oil proceeds which had been repatriated into the federation account without Central Bank’s authority.
According to him, purported suspension was as a result of some discrepancies he discovered in respect of amounts repatriated to the federation account from the proceed of crude oil sales between the period of January, 2012 and July, 2013.
He maintained that his sin was that upon discovering the financial anomalies, he had cause to inform the National Assembly considering the fact that the revenue of the federation and the national economy was directly affected.
He further insisted before the court that his purported suspension by President Jonathan was aimed at punishing him for disloyalty and the disclosures he made with regards to how revenue that accrued to the federation was being mismanaged.
Sanusi contended that the President did not approach or obtained the support of the Senate, saying his discussions with several lawmakers including Senator Bukola Saraki, confirmed that the decision to oust him from office was unilaterally taken by the Presidency.
Consequently, he urged the court to restrain President Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police, from giving effect to his purported suspension from office as the CBN Governor, pending the determination of his suit.
Besides, he begged the court to make an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from obstructing,disturbing, stopping or preventing him from in any manner whatsoever from performing the functions of his office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and enjoying in full, the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office of the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.
In an affidavit he deposed in support of the suit, Sanusi averred: “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 told the court that his interlocutory application was necessary considering the issues raised in the suit, saying delay would entail irreparable and serious damage and mischief on 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 as the President’s continued unlawful interference with the management and administration of the apex bank, unless arrested, poses grave danger for Nigerian economy.
It was his prayer that the court should order the maintenance of status quo ante bellum, which he said should be that he should return to his office as the Governor of the CBN.
Sanusi further averred that the actions of the President in suspending him from office was contrary to provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act relating to the appointment and removal of the CBN Governor.
He said his purported suspension, “amounts to unlawful interference in the administration and management of the apex bank and is therefore illegal, null and void.”
He said it would be in the interest of Justice for the court to grant all his prayers.
Meanwhile, the suit, dated February 24, is yet to be assigned to any judge for hearing.