The federal government’s suspension of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has turned out to be unpopular as many pressure groups and individuals have questioned it.
The House of Representatives has declared Sanusi’s suspension as illegal and unconstitutional and mandated its standing Committee on Legislative Compliance to compile all resolutions of the House which has indicted any public officer for which the president has refused to act, so as to request him to act expeditiously.
The decision followed a motion on Urgent Public Importance calling the attention of the House to the suspension of Sanusi, moved by Hon. Samson Osagie (Edo, APC).
Moving the motion, Osagie noted that the CBN Act 2007 as amended does not have provisions empowering the president or anybody to suspend the CBN governor.
“Only section 11 (f) of the Act gives the president powers to remove the CBN governor subject to approval of 2/3 majority of the Senate.”
He expressed worry that the suspension is coming at a time when the CBN governor has made allegations of missing funds unremittied into the Federation Accounts, the allegation which has not been resolved.
He noted that the allegation of recklessness by the Financial Reporting Council, upon which he was suspended, did not indicate whether Sanusi was given fair hearing in accordance with the constitution.
He said: “The fact that the National Assembly has made numerous resolutions bordering on corruption against certain officers for which the president has refused to act.
“In a democracy, the rule of law and not the rule of man is the only condition that can guarantee freedom, protect the rights of the citizen and remove impunity.”
This set the stage for what became an inter-party squabble as some members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party opposed the motion.
A member, Hon. Raphael Igbokwe (PDP, Imo), raised the point of order, citing section 11 (f) of CBN Act. He noted that the Act did not make any provision for suspension, adding that the president had not violated the Act.
He explained that Osagie’s motion was misplaced because the CBN was bound by civil service rules and if any public officer was found wanting he should be sanctioned in accordance with that rule.
He cautioned the House against dabbling into purely executive arm affairs.
Sensing that the situation was becoming rowdy, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal said it was clear that this matter was becoming heated.
“I will rule this way, I will allow six members to speak for and six against it,” he said.
The Deputy Leader, Leo Ogor, who spoke amid shout of No! No! from APC members, said the subject matter was serious, adding that the president was acting in line with section 11 of the Constitution.
“In doing so, there must be first action which the president has taken by suspending him first so as to pave the way for his removal.”
Speaking on the issue after the plenary session, the House spokesperson, Zakari Mohammed said that the House became concerned because Sanusi’s suspension could make investors deveop goose pimples.
“We are all concerned about what the international community will say. The CBN Act did not envisage suspension. The matter raises questions because of the timing.”