- Suspension, plot to thwart missing funds probe – APC
- You can’t have two CBN govs at once, says Falana
From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna, Umar Muhammad Puma, Abuja & Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
The northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has faulted the recent suspension of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, saying the President lacks the constitutional power to do so.
In a statement yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim, ACF said it is only the Senate that has the power to dismiss or remove the CBN governor, with a two third majority vote after following due process.
The forum said Jonathan’s decision has negative implication on transparency and good governance and negates the principle of separation of powers.
“Sanusi is the CBN Governor, duly and properly appointed according to law. He has done his duty by reporting the missing public fund of $20bn dollars to the National Assembly as expected of him officially and the National Assembly has commenced investigations which had not yet been concluded.
“Malam Sanusi is a principal witness in the ongoing investigation before the Senate and the House of Representatives Committees investigating the matter, in this circumstances how is he going to appear before such an authority?” the statement said.
“We wish to express concern about the personal security and safety of Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as it has been reported that his passport has been seized and the security details attached to him withdrawn,” the Forum added.
Meanwhile, Transitional Monitoring Group (TMG) has said Sanusi’s suspension smacks of impunity, intolerance of dissent and contradicts the anti-corruption hype and posture of the PDP-led Federal Government.
The TMG also said the action is a brazen violation of Section 11 (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act which states that the removal of Governor, Deputy or Director of CBN by President is subject to the ratification by two-third (2/3) majority of the Senate.
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the Presidency of seeking to use Sanusi’s ‘illegal’ suspension to divert attention from the allegation of missing 20 billion dollars in oil funds.
In a statement in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the way the presidency has been campaigning to malign Sanusi, using the report of the obscure Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, shows that it is working hard to sweep the issue of the missing funds under the carpet and punish Sanusi for daring to expose the fraud.
It said if the federal government had used half the energy it has been deploying to discredit Sanusi toward the investigation of the missing oil funds, the monumental corruption case would have been solved by now.
The party said the questions that are begging for answers include: What happened to the missing $20 billion? If indeed a part of the funds has been used for kerosene subsidy, who authorized the spending of money that was not appropriated, in violation of the nation’s constitution? Who reinstated the subsidy that had been removed by a presidential directive? If $8.76 billion of the missing money was used for kerosene subsidy, who and who are the beneficiaries, since it is clear that Nigerians are not enjoying any subsidy on kerosene for which they are shelling out at least N150 per litre?
It re-stated its earlier stand that Sanusi’s suspension is unlawful and that it is another dangerous turn in the Jonathan administration’s journey of impunity, lawlessness and double standard.
On the allegations against Sanusi, it said the federal government should charge him to court, if indeed it is convinced of the veracity of the allegations, instead of convicting him on the pages of newspapers and mob-lynching him through paid hatchet men. On his part, human right lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), also faulted the suspension of the CBN governor, saying Sanusi could only be removed by the President with the approval of the Senate.
He however blamed Sanusi for not resigning earlier when he made the allegation. “Mr Sanusi ought to have voluntarily resigned his appointment. But he decided to remain in office while taking the Administration to the cleaners at the tail end of his 5-year tenure”.
According to him, since Mr Sanusi has been placed on suspension the law presumes that he is still the substantive Governor of the CBN. Therefore, pending the end of his tenure or removal from office through the Senate there is no basis for the appointment of a new CBN governor.
He advised the President to suspend the process for the replacement of the CBN governor by withdrawing the new nomination forwarded to the Senate as the nation cannot have a suspended governor and a substantive governor of the CBN at the same time.
He however warns that the diversion of huge public funds from the Federation Account alleged by Mr Sanusi should not be swept under the carpet. At the same time, the allegations of financial recklessness leveled against Mr Sanusi ought to be investigated without any delay.