Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday refused an ex-parte application to the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who had asked it to reinstate him as the CBN governor.
Sanusi had through one of his lead lawyers, Mr Kola Awodein (SAN), approached the court, asking it to restrain the defendants and their agents from stopping him from performing his functions as the CBN governor and enjoying the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office.
The plaintiff further wants the court to expeditiously grant his interlocutory application, claiming that any delay might cause irreparable and serious damage in the exercise of his statutory duties as the CBN governor.
But Justice Kolawole, in his ruling over the matter, held that he felt hesitant and constrained to grant the plaintiff's ex-parte application on the grounds that "it is unsafe - judicially speaking, to embark on far reaching interim orders which have all the attributes of a mandatory injunction without according the defendant a hearing".
The judge further said: "One other issue that the court would like to raise when defendants have been duly served with the originating summons and motion on notice is that whether in the light of the Third Alteration Act Number 20 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), whether the Federal High Court notwithstanding the questions plaintiff has set down for determination in its originating summons, still has the jurisdiction to entertain the plaintiff suit."
He said in light of the views expressed and the analysis, the court would rather review the plaintiff's motion ex parte and direct that the court processes should be served on the defendants in good time.
The judge also held that the court not only had the judicial powers to declare the suspension unlawful but to order that the plaintiff be returned to perform his duties as CBN governor.
According to the judge, the court can also make a pronouncement even where the tenure of the plaintiff had lapsed, order the defendants to pay him such remunerations and allowances on the grounds that the plaintiff's suspension also carries with it the plaintiff's stoppage of remuneration and allowances.
The case has been adjourned till March 12, 2014.