By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Eminent Nigerians have continued to express divergent views over the removal of the Central Bank Governor,CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from office.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Lagos lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu condemned the removal of the CBN Governor, saying it was a distraction which can only contribute to shifting the focus of the government from finding the missing $20 billion oil money.
However, Lagos-based Senior Advocate, Chief Ladi Rotimi-Williams said the removal of Sanusi is “long overdue.”
SERAP in a statement, by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said: “The government should not politicise the fight against corruption. Our concern remains the urgent, thorough, transparent and effective investigation into allegations that $20 billion oil money is missing from the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“If it is true that the suspension is linked with Sanusi’s public disclosure of the missing funds, SERAP believes that this will be clearly wrong and contrary to the government’s obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption to target a whistle-blower simply for public information in the public domain.
“No one should be victimized for contributing to the fight against corruption, which is the moral and legal responsibility of any serious, open and people’s oriented government.
“Unless the government comes clean about what exactly has happened to the $20 billion missing oil money, the NNPC will remain unaccountable to Nigerians for its action. This will not be consistent with the attitude of a government establishment funded with tax payers’ money.
“The government’s action in finding the missing money and punishing suspected perpetrators is critical if it is to enjoy the trust and confidence of Nigerians in the fight against corruption.”
Aturu in a statement titled: ‘Purported Suspension of CBN Governor: An offensive illegality’, said: “It is unsurpassed in its blatant illegality and immorality. So, as far as the law goes, the purported suspension of the Governor is unwarranted. Section 11 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 clearly lists the instances when the Governor or any of his Deputies can cease to remain in office.
“For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, none of such instances include suspension by the President. The only mention of the word ‘suspension’ is in section 11(1)(d) and that relates to the removal of the Governor when he or she is disqualified or suspended from practicing his or her profession in Nigeria.
“Of course, the illegal suspension of the Governor is not from a professional body and is not at all contemplated by the law”, he noted.
The activist pointed out that the only occasion the President can recommend the removal of the Governor or exercise any disciplinary control over him is under section 11(1)(f) and that recommendation must be supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate before he can be removed.