Mr. Sanusi was suspended as CBN governor on Thursday.
A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has joined other Nigerians in condemning the suspension of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, saying the decision is characterised by impunity and abuse of power.
Mr. Abubakar said in a statement by his media office in Abuja that he was sure President Goodluck Jonathan had no power to order the removal or suspension of the CBN Governor in the manner he did.
The former vice president said he decided to join other well-meaning Nigerians in condemning the decision since silence in the face of such abuse of power by the President was capable of sending the wrong message and setting a dangerous precedent.
Recalling when he was also a victim of such action following his suspension as Vice President by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Abubakar said he challenged the action in court to show that it was unlawful.
He said the Federal High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court all ruled that the President lacked the constitutional powers to either suspend or sack a public officer.
Though the former Vice President said he had no details of the CBN governor’s alleged offences, neither was he in the position to defend them, he said whatever they were, the Presidency should have followed constitutional process in handling it, instead of a decision that exceeded the boundary of his powers.
“This is not about (Lamido) Sanusi as a person, or the person nominated to succeed him, Godwin Emefiele, who is a thorough bred professional. It is about due process that should be upheld,” Mr. Abubakar said.
The former Vice President asked Mr. Sanusi to approach the court to challenge his suspension in the interest of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
In its reaction, the Movement for Accountability and Good Governance described the CBN governor’s suspension as ill-timed, unlawful and questionable.
The National President of the association, Jasper Azuatalam, said with majority of Nigerians waiting for the House of Representatives to conclude the ongoing investigations on the alleged unremitted $20 billion by the NNPC to the federation account, it considered the suspension of Mr. Sanusi to be premature, untimely and unlawful.
The group said that it considered Mr. Sanusi’s suspension as an attempt to undermine the investigation into the alleged unremitted $20 billion oil money, saying it was shocking to note that the order came from the President, who Nigerians expect to support efforts to facilitate the full reconciliation between the Ministry of Finance, the NNPC, and the CBN.
Also, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, asked President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to tread softly and ensure that the baby was not thrown away with the bath water in the matter.
The group said the impression created by the sudden turn of event, with the removal of the CBN governor, was shocking, as Nigerians were expecting the government to celebrate his ‘heroic’ role as a whistle blower in the missing $20 billion oil money.
HURIWA faulted the quality of legal advice by President Jonathan’s aides, saying the Presidency should ensure fair hearing in determining Mr. Sanusi’s fate.
In a statement, the National Coordinator of the group, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and its National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, noted that the former CBN governor was not accorded his constitutional right to fair hearing.