Officials of the State Security Service, SSS, have seized the travelling documents of suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, shortly after he arrived Lagos from Niger, where he had gone to attend a meeting of governors of central banks in the West African sub-region.
Shortly after his plane landed at the ExecuJet Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, he was accosted by plain clothe operatives who detained him briefly and insisted he must surrender his passport.
They also insisted that he would not be allowed to leave the airport until the Lagos state director of the SSS arrives.
But after a while, the operatives had a change of heart after communicating with their superiors. The CBN governor was allowed to leave but only after his passport was confiscated.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier exclusively reported the plans to arrest Mr. Sanusi on his return to the country from neighbouring Niger.
The governor was suspended in absentia, while attending a three-day meeting of the West African Central Bank Governors.
The embattled governor had himself became aware of the plan to arrest him, compelling him to change his travel plans.
He landed in Lagos instead of Abuja.
In Lagos, Mr. Sanusi’s associates and friends, led by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai, were on hand to receive him at the airport.
They drove out of the airport in a convoy heading towards Ikoyi. A member of the delegation said Mr. Sanusi was heading to a friend’s place to relax.
Earlier today, the President ordered the immediate suspension of Mr. Sanusi from office, saying his tenure had been characterized by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline.
However, many Nigerians believe the CBN governor was axed because he exposed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as an harbinger of corruption and financial mismanagement, diverting huge federal revenues accruing to the nation from the sale of crude oil.
Mr. Sanusi says as much as $20 billion oil money is missing.
The President, in a statement by Reuben Abati, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, ordered the Central Bank governor to hand over to the most senior Deputy Governor of the bank, Mrs. Alade who will serve as Acting Governor until the conclusion of ongoing investigations into alleged breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the Central Bank.