ABUJA—BID by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to return to office suffered a setback yesterday as the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, dismissed an ex-parte motion seeking his immediate reinstatement.
Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi
In a ruling yesterday, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, said it would not be in the interest of justice to grant such application without hearing from those dragged before the court by the embattled CBN governor.
Consequently, Sanusi was yesterday ordered to serve the relevant court processes on President Goodluck Jonathan, Attorney-General of the Federation, and Inspector-General of Police, who were all listed as defendants, even as the substantive suit was adjourned to March 12 for hearing.
Nevertheless, Justice Kolawole maintained that should the court discover that the CBN governor was wrongfully suspended without recourse to the due process of the law, the court has constitutional powers to not only void the suspension, but also order that he should return to office to perform his duties as head of the apex bank.
According to the judge, even where the tenure had lapsed, the court could order the defendants to pay the plaintiff such remunerations and allowances that ought to have accrued to him within the period of his suspension “This is in any event that the suspension carries with it the stoppage of the plaintiff’s remuneration and allowances,” the judge said.
Justice Kolawole added he was hesitant and constrained to grant the plaintiff’s motion ex parte, saying “it is unsafe, judicially speaking to embark on far reaching interim orders which have all the attributes of a mandatory injunction without according the defendant a hearing.”
Meanwhile, the judge said one issue the court would require both Sanusi and the defendants to address when they have been duly served with the originating summons and motion on notice would centre on whether in the light of the third alteration Act number 20 of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, whether the Federal High Court, notwithstanding the questions plaintiff has set down for determination, has the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
It will be recalled that Sanusi had in his ex parte motion dated February 24, begged the court to issue an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from obstructing, disturbing, stopping or preventing him in any manner whatsoever from performing the functions of his office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and enjoying in full, the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office of the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.
Sanusi told the court that his interlocutory application was necessary considering the issues raised in his substantive suit, insisting that delay would entail irreparable and serious damage and mischief on him in the exercise of his statutory duties as the CBN Governor.
Besides, he urged the court to exercise its discretion in his favour by granting the interlocutory injunctions as the President’s continued unlawful interference with the management and administration of the apex bank, unless arrested, poses grave danger for Nigerian economy.
It was his prayer that the court should order the maintenance of status quo ante bellum, which he said should be that he should return to his office as the Governor of the CBN.