Mr. Falana urged trade unions to be more pro-active.
A lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, on Wednesday condemned the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, describing his various financial policies and statements as dubious and opportunistic.
Mr. Falana condemned various statements and policy regulations of Mr. Sanusi and the CBN including that on reduction of the civil service, bail-out of banks, and removal of fuel subsidy.
The radical lawyer made this condemnations at the 100 years celebration of trade unionism organised by Working Class Association of Nigeria, WCA, at the University of Ibadan on Wednesday.
“Apart from his membership of Jonathan economic team, Mr. Sanusi has teamed up with the other apostles of market fundamentalism to justify the removal of the so called fuel subsidy, retrenchment of workers, galloping inflation, the manipulation of the foreign exchange market and the dollarisation of the economy,” the lawyer said.
On the dubious fuel subsidy payments made to petrol importers in 2011, Mr. Falana said the CBN and Mr. Sanusi are culpable.
“The main finding of the probes is that whereas N245 billion was appropriated in 2011 for fuel subsidy the Central Bank illegally paid out N2.3 trillion to the NNPC and other fuel importers on the recommendation of the Federal Ministries of Finance and Petroleum Resources.
“Up till now, the lousy officials who committed such grave economic crimes have not been brought to book. In a very arrogant manner the indicted officials are trying to divert attention of Nigerians by making reckless statements on the state of the economy,” he said.
He also condemned the statement by Mr. Sanusi that the civil service was too large and should be reduced by 50 per cent.
“Why call for reduction in workforce? In the face of mounting unemployment of young and able bodied citizens the retrenchment of workers by 50% should be resisted.
“In any case, the wage bill of civil servants is not the problem of the economy but the gross mismanagement, corruption and capital flight perpetrated by a parasitic ruling class,” he said.
Mr. Falana listed specific government organs and agencies of the Federal Government including the CBN that were gulping a large chunk of Nigeria’s money.
“The loquacious CBN governor is not condemning the allocation of such huge funds to service a few government officials,” he said.
He accused the CBN governor of committing a huge heist by using billions of naira to bail out troubled banks.
“No doubt Mr. Sanusi’s call is designed to cover up the unprecedented looting of the economy, not less than N3 trillion has been channeled to bail out banks which were run down by bank executives with the connivance of the corrupt inspectorate division of the CBN.
“On its own part, the CBN has continued to distort the economy through the monthly conversion of revenue in dollars to Naira for payment of statutory allocations instead of the issuance of dollar certificates to the three tiers of Government,” Falana said
Mr. Falana, who chaired the event, commended the organisers of the workshop.
He advised trade unions to play positive roles in the fight for a sustained democracy not mindful of the challenges.
“Finally, in spite of its limitations the trade union movement has played a positive role in the struggle for political independence and the expansion of the democratic space in Nigeria.
“Therefore, the trade unions should draw sufficient lessons from the collapse of the January 2012 strike and popular protests in other to forge ahead,” he said.
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