14 June 2014

Nigeria: Sanusi Sues for Peace With Jonathan

Photo: Premium Times
Lamido Sanusi

Abuja — In a bid to consolidate his position as the new Emir of Kano, the erstwhile Governor of the Central Bank, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, yesterday, initiated moves to terminate his suit against President Goodluck Jonathan following his sack from CBN.

Sanusi's suit pending before the National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Abuja, is challenging the powers of President Jonathan to suspend a sitting Governor of the apex bank without recourse to the National Assembly.

The plaintiff had contended that only a two-thirds majority of the Senate could oust a CBN governor from office, irrespective of any allegation levelled against the occupant of such position.

President Goodluck Jonathan and Lamido Sanusi

Though the case was initially filed before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, it was later transferred to the NIC by trial Justice Gabriel Kolawole who declined jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Kolawole had in his judgment on May 20, relied on Section 24(3) of the NIC Act 2006, to transfer the case on the basis that the issues bordered on employer/employee relationship.

On May 30 when the matter came up for hearing at the NIC, the National President of the court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, directed all the parties to appear before him yesterday to address the court on the import of section 47 of the NIC Act.

Adejumo gave the directive after both Sanusi and Jonathan, urged him to hands-off the case since an appellate court was already seized of the facts of the matter.

The duo told the court that they had lodged separate appeals against the judgement of the High Court.

Whereas Jonathan challenged the powers of the high court to transfer the matter to the NIC even when it had already declined jurisdiction, Sanusi argued that the Federal High Court ought to have heard and determined the suit.

Other defendants in the suit were the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and the Inspector General of Police whose name was later struck out from the matter.

However, when the case came up for hearing yesterday, Sanusi, through his team of lawyers led by two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Chief Kola Awodein and Abubakar Mahmoud, pleaded for time to enable him decide on whether to continue with the proceeding or not.

"Due to the recent development that has taken place between the last time this case came up and today, we want an adjournment to enable us seek further instructions from our client on what should be the next line of action" Awodein told the court.

The request was not opposed by Counsel to Jonathan, Mr Mathew Echo as well as the AGF, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.

Consequently, Justice Adejumo, yesterday, adjourned the case to July 4, for mention.

Sanusi who was removed from the CBN on February 20, had challenged the powers of President Jonathan to suspend him based on the report by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, which indicted him of "financial recklessness and misconduct."

He contended that the President action ran contrary to provisions of the CBN Act relating to the appointment and removal of the CBN Governor, adding further that the action amounted to "unlawful interference in the administration and management of the apex bank and is therefore illegal, null and void."

He also specifically prayed the court to restrain the defendants from obstructing, disturbing, stopping or preventing him in any manner whatsoever from performing the functions of his office as governor of the CBN and enjoying in full, the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office.

Sanusi alleged that he was illegally ousted from office following some discrepancies he discovered in respect of amounts repatriated to the federation account from the proceeds of crude oil sales between the period of January 2012 and July 2013.

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