News / Africa

Nigerian President Defends Suspension of Central Bank Governor

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan arrives for service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan arrives for service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
James Butty
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said his suspension of Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi had nothing to do with the governor’s allegations of corruption at the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. 

Sanusi said over $20 billion had disappeared from state oil revenues.

Although Sanusi said he would challenge the legality of his suspension in court, presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said Jonathan has made it clear he has the power to appoint and suspend bank governors.

“President Jonathan made it very clear that what we are dealing with here is a case of suspension, not dismissal.  But, the question that has arisen from that is whether the president has the power to suspend without recourse to the National Assembly. The position expressed by Mr. President is indeed he who appoints also has the power to suspend,” he said.

Abati said Jonathan, during a news conference, also addressed the question of whether Sanusi was suspended over his corruption allegations.

“Indeed, the investigation against him (Sanusi) first started as far back as February, 2013.  As of April 2013, and also by May 4th, he had been given queries to respond to a number of allegations.  His response was then forwarded to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, which reported back to the federal government alleging many breaches and practically accusing the CB under Sanusi’s watch of fraud, incompetence and of financial recklessness.  And, on the basis of that, the presidency had to ask Mr. Sanusi to step down,” Abati said.

Abati said Sanusi’s claim that over $20 billion is missing from state oil revenues is being investigated by the Nigerian legislature.

He said Jonathan insisted his government would not interfere with an ongoing legislative investigation.

“Indeed, Mr. Sanusi is free and is encouraged to continue to give evidence before the National Assembly.  President Jonathan’s commitment is to integrity and accountability.  And, he has made it very clear that his government is also committed to transparency, both in the extractive sector and particularly in the NNPC,” Abati said.

Abati says the Nigerian government saw a brief jolt in the financial markets as reaction to Sanusi’s suspension, the man considered as having brought some stability to Africa’s second largest economy.

“Immediately after the announcement, as a result of the uncertainty that quite a number of persons read into the development, there was a brief shock in the market. But, the position of government is that this has nothing to do with monetary policy. The Central Bank of Nigeria remains very strong and government is committed to continuing to strengthen it, and there is no need for anxiety about the country’s financial policy,” Abati said.
Butty interview with Abati
Butty interview with Abatii
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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
February 25, 2014 10:39 AM
The question is, why did the president not allow the issue being trashed at the Senate to be settled before using the sack/suspension to scuttle the investigation? The president has proved to be the head of the corruption in the country. By this singular act of obstructing justice and getting in the way of punishing corruption, the president has shown that all other issues of corruption, including his inactivity to find, indict or prosecute boko haram and their mentors, are his brain child for milking the country dry. If the president means any good to the country, he should reinstate Sanusi - the Central Bank governor - and allow him and the Senate to finish the business of finding where the $20billion oil money was laundered, before sacking or suspending him. If Nigeria votes, and that is in 2015, Jonathan will not smell a vote from Nigerians whom he has impoverished through the corruption in the country's main foreign exchange earner - the oil industry. If anything, the president has by this action proved to Nigerians public enemy number one.
In Response

by: patrick derrick from: rome italy
February 26, 2014 12:10 PM
the bigger qestion here is,why does he took mallam sanusi so long to provide the necessary documentation as the head of the establisment.and,as far as am concern what Leeds to mallam sanusi sorpension was lack of failure to provide the necessary evidence in which the investigation comittee & the president goodluck has been waiting for since,he was appointed as the cbn governor.but,notwithstanding, the president has made it clear in his public interview,that,he who hires,also, has power to remove.according, to the section 12 of the law of central bank of nigeria.and,moreover,he declear also,that,mallam sanusi free & he every right to come forward with his evidence if he has any.and,what the president accused him of is(MISCONDUCT) of power, in which he can't prove!!!!!!!!!!!!

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