A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday February 26th 2014 refused an application by Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to be reinstated as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Following his suspension last week, Sanusi had filled an application on Monday asking the court to make an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from “obstructing, disturbing, stopping or preventing him in any manner whatsoever, from performing the functions as the governor of the CBN and enjoying in full, the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office.”
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Justice Gabriel Kolawole refused the ex parte motion brought before it by Sanusi on the grounds that it would be unfair to grant such an application without affording the respondents a hearing.
Urging the court to expeditiously grant his interlocutory application, he maintained that any delay might cause irreparable and serious damage and mischief on him in the exercise of his statutory duties as the CBN governor.
But Justice Gabriel Kolawole in refusing the application said he was of the view that the court had not only the judicial powers to declare the suspension unlawful, but to order that the plaintiff be returned to perform his duties as the governor of the CBN.
He also said the court could also, even where the tenure had lapsed order the defendants to pay the plaintiff such remunerations and allowances on the basis that the plaintiff’s suspension also carried with it the stoppage of his remuneration and allowances.
According to the trial judge, it is unsafe, judicially speaking, to embark on far-reaching interim orders, which have all the attributes of a mandatory injunction without according the defendants a hearing.
Pondering on the reliefs sought, the trial judge said he felt hesitant and constrained to grant the plaintiff’s motion ex parte.
The judge said another issue he would like to raise when the defendants have been duly served with the originating summons and motion on notice was whether in the light of the third alteration Act number 20 of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, whether the Federal High Court still has the jurisdiction to entertain issues dealing with employment, notwithstanding the questions the plaintiff had set down for determination in his originating summons.
In the light of the views expressed and the analysis, the court refused the plaintiff’s motion ex parte and directed that the motion be served on the defendants.
The judge further ordered the plaintiff to effect service of the originating summons on the defendants together with the motion on notice.
The court then adjourned the matter to March 12, 2014.