The House of Representatives on Thursday had a rowdy session over the suspension of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, by President Goodluck Jonathan.
* file photo of a cross section of members of House of Reps
Debate on the suspension of the CBN governor started when the Minority Whip of the House, Samson Osagie (APC-Edo), raised a point of order on the suspension of Sanusi.
According to Osagie, the CBN Act of 2007 as amended does not empower the President or anybody else to suspend the CBN governor.
He said section 11 (7) of the Act only empowered the President to remove the governor, subject to the approval of two-third majority of the Senate.
The legislator stressed that the allegation of financial recklessness reported by the Accounting Standards Board upon which Sanusi was suspended did not indicate if he was given fair hearing.
But Leo Ogor (PDP-Delta), said the action of the President was a process that could lead to Sanusi’s removal as stipulated in the CBN Act.
Also, Ralph Igbokwe (PDP-Imo), said that Section 11 of the CBN Act, empowered Jonathan to suspend the governor.
However, Nkoyo Toyo (PDP-Cross River), cautioned the House not to politicise the matter.
The House later mandated its Committees on Justice and Legislative Compliance to compile all resolutions of the House indicting public officers but on which action had not been taken.
At the Senate, however, the upper chamber said the President acted within the ambit of his statutory functions by suspending Sanusi.
Senate’s spokesman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, reacting to the suspension, said the President by suspending Sanusi was well within the range of his statutory function as President.
“The President only suspended Sanusi, he did not sack him. So he acted accordingly,” he said.
Abaribe said the only communication to the Senate in respect of the development in the CBN was the forwarding of the names of the new CBN governor and a new deputy governor for confirmation by the Senate.
“The new governor will only assume office at the expiration of Sanusi’s tenure in June,” he added.
But Senator Babajide Omoworare (APC Osun East) in his reaction to Sanusi’s suspension, told journalists in Abuja that the President’s action was illegal and contrary to the provisions of the CBN Act.
He said the CBN Act prevented the President from doing so except in the case of outright sack of CBN Governor, which he said must be presented to the Senate for two-third majority approval.
“Sanusi, no doubt, has been the crown witness in the matter of alleged mismanagement of Nigeria’s oil proceeds to the tune of $49.8bn within the last two years, which made his suspension very uncomfortable to Nigerians and her strategic foreign partners at this time,” he said.