BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
The Federal Government, yesterday, said it was still in doubt of the sincerity of the erstwhile Governor of the Central Bank, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to make peace with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Consequently, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, yesterday, told the National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Abuja that he was determined to pursue the legal action that was instituted against President Jonathan by the former CBN governor to its logical conclusion.
The AGF made this position of the government known to the court shortly after Sanusi who is now the Emir of Kano, notified the President of the NIC, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, of his decision to withdraw the suit challenging the powers of President Jonathan to suspend him from office as governor of the apex bank without recourse to the National Assembly.
Sanusi had in his suit, contended that only a two-third majority vote from the Senate could effectively oust a CBN governor from office, irrespective of any allegation levelled against the occupant of such position.
Though the case was originally filed before the Abuja Division of the Federal Court, it was subsequently transferred to the NIC by trial Justice Gabriel Kolawole who declined jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
Justice Kolawole in a judgment on May 20, relied on section 24(3) of the NIC Act 2006, to transfer the case on the basis that the issue bothered on employer/employee relationship.
Meantime, at the resumed sitting on the matter yesterday, Sanusi, who was represented by three Senior Advocates of Nigeria, told the court that he had already filed a notice to discontinue further proceeding on the suit
Addressing the court through his lead counsel Mr. Kola Awodehin, SAN, the emir of Kano, stressed that he had already served both President Jonathan and the AGF, who are the 1st and 2nd defendants in the matter, with copies of the said notice of discontinuance. ”Our application is supported by Order 19 rule 17 of the NIC rules, and my Lord, all the parties have been duly served”, Awodehin added.
However, before Awodehin could conclude his submission, counsel to the AGF, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, told the court that although he would not object to Sanusi’s withdrawal application, he said his client, sceptic about the genuine intention of the plaintiff, was determined to continue with the matter.
Ozekhome, contended that Sanusi ought to have shown his sincerity by also withdrawing the appeal he lodged before the appeal court in Abuja which is challenging the jurisdiction of the NIC to adjudicate on the dispute between him and President Jonathan.
”My lord, as we speak today, that appeal is still pending. In fact, the plaintiff equally has another application before Justice Kolawole wherein he is seeking the stay of execution of the federal high court judgement pending the determination of his pending appeal”, Ozekhome added.
He told the court that the high court has already issued the AGF a notice to come and compile records for onward transmission to the court of appeal.
”In view of these developments, the AGF has asked me to wait for further instruction and it is that instruction that I am waiting for now”, Ozehkome told the court.
He insisted that unless Sanusi embarked on a wholistic withdrawal of all the pending legal actions he filed against the government in relation to his suspension from office, the AGF would have no option than to go ahead with the case.
Besides, Ozehkome, informed the court that the AGF has also gone before the appeal court to challenge the powers of Justice Kolawole to transfer the case to the NIC after he had held that he lacked jurisdiction to entertain Sanusi’s suit