No matter what, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor officially ends today.
He cannot go back to his position irrespective of the court actions currently on, his time having been used up by the Acting governor, Dr. Sarah Alade. Godwin Emefiele’s five-year tenure takes effect from today.
Meanwhile, the National Industrial Court, yesterday fixed June 3, 2014 for hearing of applications to stay proceeding in the suit transferred to it by a Federal High Court, Abuja which had declined to hear the suit filed by suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi challenging his suspension from office by the President Goodluck Jonathan.
When the matter came up yesterday, counsel representing the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) told the court that the his client and the President had filed separately notices of appeal at the Court of Appeal against the judgement. He said that applications to stay proceedings at the Industrial court pending the outcome of the appeal had also been filed.
President of the National Industrial Court, Chief Babtunde Adejumo said the court would invoke section 47 of the National Industrial Court (NIC) Act to entertain the matter since it was transferred by a court of coordinate jurisdiction.
Sanusi had in the suit asked the court to restrain the AGF and the Inspector general of Police (IGP) from arresting and prosecuting him.
But in his judgment delivered on May 20, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that his court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit.
The judge, relying on the provisions of Order 56 Rule 3 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 and Section 24(3) of the National Industrial Court (NIC) Act, 2006 transferred the case to the NIC for determination.
Jonathan and the AGF as well as Sanusi had disagreed with the judgment of the Federal High Court which declined to hear the suit filed by the suspended governor challenging his suspension.
In order to set aside the judgment, they have filed separate notices of appeal before the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
The President, AGF and Sanusi are, by their separate notices of appeal, challenging the decision by Justice Kolawole to transfer the case to the NIC.
Both the President and the AGF were of the view that since Justice Kolawole agreed that he did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case, the proper order he should have made was to strike out or dismiss the suit.
They argued that the trial court, having agreed with them that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case on the ground that it was related to labour dispute, it equally lacked the power to exercise the jurisdiction it lacked, in transferring the case.
Sanusi, who raised about 20 grounds of appeal, argued that the court erred in declining jurisdiction and transferring his case to another court.
He restated his argument that his case was not a master-servant dispute and was therefore not a labour related conflict.
Sanusi, among others, faulted the reasoning of the trial judge and argued that, as against the decision of Justice Kolawole, he was not an employee of the Federal Government, and as such, his case could not be labour dispute.
On learning of his removal, Sanusi cut short his trip and rushed back to Nigeria, but had his passport seized from him on his arrival in Lagos.
It was from this point forward that Sanusi started his running legal battles to clear his name and regain his position as governor of the CBN.
First he filed a suit to stop agencies of government from harassing him and further seizure of his passport. The embattled suspended governor got a reprieve as a federal high court sitting in Lagos awarded him about $300,000 (£180,000) in damages.
The court also ordered the federal government, the State Security Service (SSS) and the police to immediately release the passport unlawfully seized from him.
He also filed a suit to stop the FRC from investigating him for which he got a reprieve as the trial judge on May 12 ordered the FRC to stop investigating him. The FRC has however appealed the judgment.
He later challenged his removal as governor and sought reinstatement by suing the president, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and the police, asking the court to declare his suspension by the president null and void.