By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJA â€”Â A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday okayed the removal by the Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN, of Mr. Jeremiah Adebosi Omoyeni from office as the Managing Director of Wema Bank Plc.
The trial high court judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere, who threw out the lawsuit brought by Omoyeni to reverse his sack said the CBN not only had powers to remove him from office but that its decision at the time was the best being in the interest of the public.
The court further held that the former Wema Bank MD did not help his case when he forcefully resumed office while his suspension from office was still subsisting.
Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, had through a letter dated September 4, 2009 sacked Omoyeni and appointed Layi Alabi, a former Executive Director of Union Bank, to take over as acting MD.
Soludo hinged his power to sack Omoyeni on Sections 32 and 33 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 1991 as amended.
Following the decision of the CBN, Omoyeni went to court to reverse his sack. He maintained that the CBN Governor had no powers under the law to remove him from office.
The trial judge, in dismissing the suit brought by Omoyeni against the CBN, Professor Chukwuma Soludo (former CBN Governor), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, Wema Bank and the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, said the plaintiff shot himself in the leg.
Specifically, the judge held yesterday that rather than complying with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, reached between the bank, CBN and the shareholders, which he was a signatory to, the plaintiff resulted to self help with the help of armed policemen by resuming office forcefully.
The judge said contrary to the claim by Omoyeni in his suit, both the CBN and its Governor had the powers to remove him from office and that in the instant case, the removal was done in the overall interest of the public.
Besides, Justice Chikere said the apex bank was empowered by some provisions of the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act, BOFI, particularly sections 32(1) and 33 (c) of the Act, to protect the image and integrity of the banking sector.