The All Progressives Congress (APC) Sunday accused President Goodluck Jonathan of suspending Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to divert attention from the allegation of non-remittance of $20 billion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account.
Sanusi, while appearing before the Senate Committee on Finance, had on February 4, accused the oil corporation of not remitting to the Federation Account $20 billion out of the $67 billion it realised from crude oil sale on behalf of the federation.
In a statement yesterday by its interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the way the presidency had been campaigning to malign Sanusi showed that it was working hard to sweep the issue under the carpet and to punish Sanusi for daring to expose the infraction.
Besides APC, more dignitaries and organisations, including House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal; Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi; and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday criticised Sanusi’s suspension, which they said could have deleterious effects on the nation’s economy.
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cautioned against attempts to politicise Sanusi’s ouster from office, saying the issues leading to his suspension bordered on the management of the nation’s economy and urged Nigerians to disregard those attempting to politicise or introduce sentiments to the matter.
APC said if the federal government had devoted half the energy being deployed to discredit Sanusi towards the investigation of the unremitted oil funds, the corruption case would have been solved by now.
”Irrespective of the tepid and unconvincing denial by the presidency, it is clear that the main reason the presidency moved against Sanusi is because he blew the lid on the $20 billion funds which the NNPC allegedly failed to remit to the Federation Account,” APC said.
The party re-stated its earlier stand that Sanusi’s suspension is unlawful and that it is another dangerous turn in the Jonathan administration’s journey of impunity, lawlessness and double standard.
It said the drop in the value of the naira and the fact that stocks of banks and those from other sectors of the economy had been bearish since the suspension of Sanusi, had shown the dangers inherent in politicising an office that should be insulated from political pressure.
”There are just short-term repercussions. The long-term fallout may be the scaring off of foreign investors by the perception of instability in the financial sector and the erosion of the CBN’s autonomy. If and when that happens, a President who has so far failed to uplift his nation’s economy would have succeeded in sabotaging it,” it said.
The party asked the federal government to charge Sanusi to court, if indeed it is convinced of the veracity of the allegations, instead of convicting him on the pages of newspapers and mob-lynching him through paid hatchet men.
APC also said it would mobilise its members in the National Assembly to stall the passage of any aspect of the 2014 Appropriation Bill that would not impact positively on the lives of the masses.
Speaking to THISDAY yesterday on the plan by the party to interface with its governors and legislators over the debate for the passage of the 2014 budget, Mohammed said the aim was to expose the lapses in the budget as well as guide its lawmakers to block fraudulent allocation of public funds.
He said the seminar, which would hold in Ibadan this week under the auspices of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), was part of APC’s efforts to tailor the 2014 budget proposal to suit the needs of Nigerians.