Why Sanusi Lamido Was Suspended As CBN Governor- Jonathan
As Court fixes May 20th for judgment President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was suspended for awarding contracts amounting to N163 billion, which he said is, 63 percent in excess of CBN statutorily authorized shared capital of N100 billion.
Counsel to President Jonathan, Dr Fabian Ajogwu while arguing his preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit stated that Sanusi was suspended to pave way for investigation into cases of financial recklessness and misappropriation for which he was queried by the President.
Ajogwu stated that “Sanusi was suspended for awarding contracts amounting to over N163billion, which is, 63 percent in excess of CBN statutorily authourised shared capital of 100billion.
“All of these, happened almost four months prior to the alleged whistle blowing of September 2013 of missing monies, Ajogwu said.
Ajogwu further told the court that “by virtue of Section 11 of National Industrial Court Act, 2006, matters relating to employment falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the NIC, adding that Section 11 (2) of the Interpretation Act, clarifies whether or not President Jonathan has powers to suspend Sanusi.
In opposing the suit brought by the former CBN Governor asking that he be re-instated Ajogwu said that “in the instant case, Sanusi’s suspension is in effect pending the outcome of his investigation. Sanusi is answerable to Board of CBN,
and CBN as an institution is independent and separate from Sanusi. His tenure ends in June 2014 but the CBN remains. So, there is no cause of action on point of Sanusi’s suspension” Jonathan’s counsel stated.
“We submit that this court cannot determine issues of employment or suspension from employment by reason of Section 254 (1) (c) of 1999 Constitution of FRN (as amended). We therefore urge the court to strike out the case in limine for it is not an affair of this court” Ajogwu added.
Also opposing the suit in an application filed on behalf of the 2nd defendant the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Mike Ozekhome, SAN said that the AGF wants, “An order of this Honourable Court striking out and/or dismissing this suit for want of competency as this Honourable Court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to entertain same”.
“That it is in the best interest of justice to dismiss this suit, as granting same would overreach the Defendants and prevent the CBN and the 1st Defendant from carrying out their Constitutional and statutory functions” he added.
Ozekhome further averred “That it is also in the interest of justice to dismiss the suit as same is self-serving, gold-digging, specious, baseless, provocative, misconceived, and unmeritorious, brought mala fide and constitutes an abuse of the process of this Honourable Court.
The grounds of the application according to the 1st and 2nd respondents (President Jonathan and the AGF) were that, “the matter is related to or is connected with labour, employment, and matters arising from work place, the conditions of service, and matters incidental thereto, or connected therewith, over which only the National Industrial Court has exclusive jurisdiction by virtue of Section 254C (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended”.
“The claims of the Plaintiff/Respondent are caught by the exclusivity of the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court conferred by Section 254C (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, as same amount to claims over the suspension of the Plaintiff/Respondent from his work place by the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Consequently the Federal High Court no longer has jurisdiction to entertain this matter.
“The facts of this case are highly contentious and adversarial in nature and hence are not one to be commenced by way of an originating summons” they argued.
On his part, counsel to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) (3rd defendant) Solomon Umoh opposed the suit, insisting that Sanusi is not a parallel government, “as he comes under the executive powers of the President as provided for by
Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).
He therefore urged the court to strike out the IG’s name from the suit, explaining that Sanusi joined him in the suit for fear that the police will go after him.
Responding, Sanusi’s lawyer, Kola Awodein, SAN asked the court to “dismiss the defendants’ preliminary objections and assume jurisdiction over the matter”.
His words “from the reliefs sought, it is very clear that by the nature of the case, the plaintiff invites the court to declare what the law is within the provision of Section 251 and to make corollary injunctive order. It is not about employment, it is not about employer/employee relationship.
The court presided over by Justice Gabriel Kolawole has fixed May 20th for judgment in the suit filed by Sanusi against President Jonathan, the AGF and the IG of Police seeking his reinstatement.
Having taking the replies of the defendants on points of law, Justice Kolawole said “ruling on the preliminary objection shall be incorporated in ruling on the originating summon.
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