Sanusi: President Acted within the Ambit of His Statutory Function, Says Senate

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* Some Nigerians applaud CBN’s governor’s suspension


The Senate on Thursday said  President Goodluck Jonathan acted within the ambit of his statutory function in the suspension of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Gov. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Publicity, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), stated this while addressing the National Assembly correspondents in Abuja.

“The President only suspended Sanusi, he did not sack him. So he acted accordingly,’’ he said.

Abaribe said that the only communication to the Senate in relation to the CBN was the forwarding of the name of the new governor and deputy for confirmation by the Senate.

Sen. Babajide Omoworare (APC-Osun) on his part said that the president’s action was illegal and contrary to the provisions of the CBN Act.

Omoworare said that the act prevented the president from doing so, except in the case of outright sack of the governor.

He said that such step must however be presented to the senate for two third majority approval.

He did not mention the relevant provisions of the act, but said that the president’s action was an act of “ambushing a needed whistle blower out of office’’.

Omoworare he said this was in view of shocking revelations he made against the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the mismanagement of oil proceeds.

“Sanusi, no doubt, has been the crown witness in the matter of alleged mismanagement of Nigeria’s oil proceeds to the tune of 49.8 billion dollars.

“So, why suspend him now?” Omoworare asked.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi (PDP-Kaduna), when recognised simply said, “what do you want me to say, am I the one that suspended him?”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Jonathan suspended Sanusi on Thursday and appointed Dr Sarah Alade to act pending the appointment of a substantive governor.

The president also forwarded the name of Mr Godwin Emefiele to the Senate for confirmation as the new governor of the apex bank.

The new governor will only assume office at the expiration of Sanusi’s tenure in June.

Meanwhile, some Nigerians on Thursday commended President Goodluck Jonathan for suspending the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, former Managing Director of the defunct Citizens Bank, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the action was commendable but that the President acted very late.

Unegbu said that Sansui had engaged in so many activities that were outside the functions of the CBN.

“These are administrative issues, and I think the President acted late. There was a time the CBN governor was proving to everybody that nobody can sack him except the National Assembly.

“In office, he engaged in so many things not related to economics. I think the President should have done this a long time ago’’, Unegbu said.

Mrs Beatrice Ukahu, a retired banker, commended the President for taking the bold step to suspend Sanusi, adding that it was long overdue.

Ukahu said that Sanusi’s policies had been so hard on the banks.

“I think his suspension is very good. I pray that the new CBN governor will not continue with some of his policies.

“I heard he wanted to increase the Cash Reserve Requirement of banks to 100 per cent. The 75 per cent he recently pegged it is already causing many problems.

“I am happy with the suspension’’, she said.

Chief Chuku Wachuku, the President of National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), said Sanusi should not have been publicly singing a different tune from that of the President.

“As a senior government official who has done an outstanding job in the country’s banking sector, what he should have done was talk to his principal and advise him in private.

“It was wrong for him to rush to the media to sing divergent tunes. No President anywhere in the world will allow that’’, Wachuku, former Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment, said.

He, however, said Sanusi’s suspension was likely to create micro-economic distortions and cause some shivers in the economy.

Rev. Timothy Ajibola, the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ogun Chapter, said the suspension would not affect the economy.

The cleric commended Jonathan for the suspension, adding, “we appreciate God for his courage to fight corruption in the country.

“Jonathan should do more to silence his detractors and nobody should attach politics to what the president did.

“I believe the President must have taken this decision in the best interest of Nigerians and Nigerian economy’’, he said.

Jonathan had on Thursday in Abuja announced the suspension of Sanusi and appointed the most senior Deputy Governor of the apex bank, Mrs Sarah Alade, as the Acting governor.

He later forwarded the name of Godwin Emefiele to the Senate for confirmation as CBN governor and Adelabu Adekoya nominated as his Deputy.

The President in a statement issued by his Senior Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, had given acts of financial recklessness, misconduct and irregularities as some reasons for Sanusi’s suspension.

“Having taken special notice of reports of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other investigating bodies, it indicated clearly that Sanusi’s tenure has been characterised by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct.

“These are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a CBN propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline.

It said government was deeply concerned about far-reaching irregularities under Sanusi’s watch, which had distracted the CBN away from the pursuit and achievement of its statutory mandate.

It added that government was determined to urgently re-position the CBN for greater efficiency, respect for due process and accountability.

“President Jonathan has, therefore, ordered the immediate suspension of Sanusi from office,’’ the statement said.

It added that Jonathan had further ordered that Sanusi should hand over to the most senior Deputy Governor of the CBN, Dr Sarah Alade’’.

“Alade will serve as Acting Governor until the conclusion of ongoing investigations into breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of  the CBN.’’

The statement also assured stakeholders in Nigeria’s financial and monetary system that the decision had been taken in good faith and the overall interest of the country’s economy.

According to the statement, the suspension is in accordance with laws and due process.

Sanusi assumed office in June 2009 and was expected to retire from the position in June 2014.

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