BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
…Says I fuel my personal cars
THE Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has said he collects N25,000 per night for trips within Nigeria and fuels his personal cars with personal funds.
Responding to questions asked by Lagos Lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, concerning recurrent expenditures on the CBN governor and his office in view of the rising cost of governance, Sanusi also said he does not charge CBN or the Federal Government any fee outside his remuneration.
Early December, Sanusi, stirred the hornets’ nest when he suggested the reduction of the nation’s workforce by 50 per cent. Sanusi said a situation where the government spends over 70 percent of its annual budgets on recurrent expenditure at the expense of capital expenditure, mainly to service a few political office holders and public servants that account for about one million of the country’s 167 million population was unsustainable
Sanusi’s comments, which raised dusts in the polity especially from Organised Labour made Aturu to ask 14 questions pertaining to his remunerations on December 31 pursuant to the relevant sections of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
In the response dated January 16 and signed by S.M Onekutu (legal adviser/director, Legal Services), Sanusi, however did not disclose his total remuneration because it “is a subject of litigation” and it will be prejudicial. He also did not disclose how much he gets per night for foreign trips.
Reacting to the CBN governor’s response yesterday, Aturu said while he was not completely satisfied with the response, he would commend Sanusi “for not behaving like most public officials who would have simply ignored the request. We are of the view that the reaction of the bank to our request will encourage public institutions to conduct their affairs transparently.”
He continued: “We intend to do a follow up to the request as it appears that the Bank misunderstands some of the questions contained in the request. When we requested for the monthly remuneration of the Governor we were not asking him or the Bank to comment on an earlier decision which the Bank is contesting. We are aware of that decision”.
Also, we were aware that section 8 of the enabling Act of the Bank empowers the Board of the Bank to fix his remuneration and that it is the responsibility of the President to approve whatever the Board fix. Indeed we stated this fact in our request. The answer we expected was a specific figure not a comment on an existing case. We still expect the Governor to answer the question as he is in a position to know exactly what he earns and if he does not know he could have simply said so.
We are impressed that the Governor is entitled to only N25,000 as daily allowance when he travels within Nigeria. That is not excessive at all by Nigerian public officials’ standards and given his lofty position. However, it is a little troubling that while the Bank was willing to state the local daily allowance it refused to state what the Governor earns when he travels outside the country, saying that he receives what the Federal Government approves. We expect him to give a specific figure. The N25,000 he takes locally was also approved by the Federal Government. So why disclose one and not the other.
“We agree with the Bank that the time frame we gave, as required by law, was insufficient to calculate or sum up the amount spent on chartered flights within and outside Nigeria. To this end, we shall be doing a follow up and although we are required to give seven days, we promise the bank not to sue immediately until about 28 days after the follow up to give the bank added tome to add up the figures. Once again we commend the Governor of the Bank and the staff for weighing in on the side of probity, transparency and accountability.”