I have no regrets; I have no ill-feelings and with no sadness. I’m happy; I’m proud of what I have done.”
These were the words of Lamido Sanusi as he reacted to his suspension as the Central Bank of Nigeria governor by President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday.
Although it was learnt that he might challenge his suspension in court, Sanusi reminded the Jonathan administration: “You can suspend an individual but you can’t suspend the truth.”
Sanusi, who added that his suspension did not bother him, said his “biggest concern is for the system .”
He was attending a meeting of the West African Central Bank Governors in Niamey, Niger Republic when the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, announced his suspension.
Abati, in a statement in Abuja, said Jonathan took the decision because Sanusi’s tenure had been characterised by acts of financial recklessness and misconduct.
Abati’s statement reads, “Having taken special notice of reports of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other investigating bodies, which indicate clearly that Mallam 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;
Sanusi, in an interview he later granted an online news portal, Sahara Reporters, said he considered the allegations against him “ridiculous.”
He said,” I have not seen the details of the allegations but some of what I’ve read is very ridiculous . The CBN, as an institution, will respond to all the allegations because we’ve always operated in line with the rule of law.
Abati said there was a clear difference between removing a CBN governor and suspending him.
He said, “I am aware that some people are saying ‘oh, this is illegal.’ But it is not.
“People who talk about illegality, they are referring to Section 11 (2) of the CBN Act. Now under that provision, the reference is to the removal of the CBN governor by the President and there is a qualification there saying that provided that removal is supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.
“But what the President has done is not removal, it is suspension. You know you do not read the provisions in isolation, you read them together and the interpretation Act. If you read all of these provisions together, the trite point is that he who hires can also have the power to suspend. He also said the President’s decision had nothing to do with Sanusi’s current position on the missing $20bn.
Before Abati defended the President’s action, officials of the State Security Service were reported to have seized Sanusi’s passport shortly after he arrived in Lagos from Niger Republic.
He was said to have been accosted by some operatives who detained him briefly and insisted he must surrender his passport.
Sanusi’s associates and friends, including a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir el-Rufai, were at the airport to welcome him. They drove out of the airport in a convoy.
Source: The punch