22 February 2014

Nigeria: Court Bars Police, SSS From Arresting Sanusi

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday restrained the Police, State Security Service, SSS, or any other agent of the Federal Government from arresting the embattled Governor of the Central Bank, CBN, Sanusi Lamido.

Mr. Sanusi was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan over alleged financial recklessness and official misconduct though it was believed to be connected with his exposure of the failure of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to remit the proceeds of the sales of crude oil to the Federation Account.

He had initially said the Corporation did not remit $49.8 billion, but later, after reconciliation with the NNPC and Finance Ministry, said it was about $10 billion. However two weeks ago, Mr. Sanusi told the Senate Committee on Finance that $20 billion was not remitted by the NNPC.

The CBN Governor, who was on official assignment in Niamey, Niger Republic, when his suspension was announced, immediately returned to the country. His international passport was impounded by security operatives at the Lagos airport when he arrived.

He has, however, said he would challenge his suspension his court.

On Friday, Mr. Sanusi also approached the Federal High Court to bar the security agencies from harassing him.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar and the State Security Service, SSS, were listed as 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents in the suit.

Mr. Sanusi, whose five-year tenure ends in June, prayed as follows:

-An order of the Honourable Court restraining the respondents, their privies, agents, representatives or any other law enforcement agencies of the Government of the Federation from violating, interfering with, or imposing any restriction on the enjoyment of the applicant's rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice;

-An order of the Honourable directing the respondents, their privies, agents, representatives or any other law enforcement agencies of the Government of the Federation to maintain status quo in this matter pending the hearing and the determination of the motion on notice.

A leave of the Honourable Court the service of the Originating Summons and other accompanying court processes on the respondents outside the jurisdiction of the honourable court and in Abuja."

The presiding judge, Justice I.N. Buba granted all three requests and adjourned the matter to Friday next week for hearing.

The CBN Governor was represented by his counsel, V.O.M. Alonge, Ikem Isiekwena, Bashiru Ramoni, Benjamin Omoruyi and Loretta Ossai.


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