Teddy Oscar, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Thursday rejected the suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The lawmakers, who had a rowdy session deliberating the issue on the floor of the House, thereafter declared the action as unconstitutional.
Recall that Jonathan announced the suspension of Sanusi in a statement singed early Thursday by Mr. Reuben Abati, special adviser to the President on media & publicity.
Jonathan, in the statement, noted that the reports of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) and other investigating bodies, have indicate clearly that Sanusi’s tenure has been characterised by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct, which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a central bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline.
The lawmakers, however, declared that Sanusi’s suspension was “unacceptable” because it was in breach of Section 11(7) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007.
This was sequel to a motion raised under matters of urgent national importance by Hon. Samson Raphael Osagie, House minority whip, who said that the President’s action was in breach of the law establishing the office of the CBN boss.
Osagie, who demanded for the reversal of the executive fiat in his motion entitled ‘suspension of the governor of CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’, told the House that by the said Act, nobody had the power to suspend a head of the nation’s apex bank.
“By the CBN Act, 2007 as amended, there seems to be no provision empowering the president or any body to suspend the governor of CBN. Only section 11(7) of the Act gives the president powers to remove the CBN governor, subject to approval of 2/3 majority of the Senate,” he added.
He also noted that the timing of the decision was curious and did not allow for a just treatment of Sanusi.
“The suspension is coming at a time when the CBN governor has made allegations of missing funds or funds unremitted into the federation account, and which allegations have not been resolved.
“The House is further worried that the allegations of recklessness by the Financial Reporting Council upon which he was suspended did not indicate whether the CBN was giving fair hearing in accordance with the constitution.
“The House has made numerous resolutions bordering on corruption against certain public officers for which the President has refused to act,” he said.
Wondering why Jonathan was quick to act on Sanusi, Osagie warned that, if condoned, the decision of the President would undermine the rights to fair hearing and democracy.
He concluded his motion, which was read amid commotion and interjections, by urging the House to mandate it’s committees on Justice and Legislative Compliance, headed by the duo of Hon. Aminu Shagari and Hon. Akinderu Fatai, respectively, to compile the resolutions from the House against certain individuals for which Jonathan has refused to act and report to the House.
“The House should mandate the committees on Justice and Legislative Compliance to compile all resolutions of the House, which has indicted any public officer for which the President has refused to act for purpose and request the President to act on them expeditiously,” he concluded.
In her contribution, Hon. Nkoyo Toyo said that the suspension of Sanusi was sad and contemptuous of the man, who had worked assiduously and courageously.
She regretted that her colleagues for and against the motion, were playing politics with the matter.
But before the motion was adopted, Hon. Karibo Nado kicked against it, citing Order 9 Rule 47.
Also kicking against the motion was Hon. Nnanna Igbokwe, who insisted that Jonathan’s decision to suspend the apex banker was in line with the Public Service rules and within the discretionary powers of the President.
> But Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, speaker, however, overruled both opponents to the motion, affirming the Osagie’s point.