Monday, March 3, 2014

Salami treatment for Sanusi

The February 20, 2014 removal of CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, four months to the end of his term of office, reminds me of how President Goodluck Jonathan unjustly dealt with the former President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami. This recent Salami treatment of Sanusi is ill-timed and a bad omen to all anti-corruption whistleblowers. Why the haste? I am of the opinion that the suspension was aimed at scuttling the on-going National Assembly investigation into allegations levelled against NNPC by the suspended governor of CBN. It would be recalled that SLS had accused the NNPC of non remittance of huge sums of money into the federation account. The initial amount was about $49b and more recently, after some financial reconciliation between the NNPC, Ministry of Finance and CBN, the disputed sum came to about $20b. Sanusi also accused NNPC of providing subsidy on Kerosene when the administration of erstwhile President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had written a memo for this to be stopped.
I commend SLS for coming out boldly to expose this act of impunity being committed by NNPC. Sanusi would be remembered for his many reforms of the banking sector among which is the sanitisation of the banking and the wider financial sector through the sack of some banks managing directors in August 2009; the introduction of cashless policy, the biometric registration of bank customers and the know-your-customers policy for banks.
The reasons for the suspension given by government, should this be true, then the board of the CBN should have been dissolved alongside the suspension of the governor. This is because, Sanusi has always claimed that he has the approval of the CBN Act and the bank’s board to make all the donations made to schools and victims of terrorist attacks. Moreover, we learnt the FRCN report of June 7, 2013 that indicted SLS had found both the governor and the deputy governors culpable- why were his deputies left off the hook with one of them even being made acting governor?  By making a scapegoat of Sanusi, a lot of government officials who want to expose acts of corruption are being cowed from speaking out. The last may not have been heard about this case.
Sanusi may have talked himself into trouble giving what many believed are unguarded statements that he made during his explosive tenure (remember the allegations he made against the National Assembly that they spend 25 percent or thereabout of the national budget, a claim NASS vehemently refuted). For me, Nigerians will remember Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as a courageous person who believes in speaking truth to power, not minding whose ox is gored. But definitely, he is someone the establishment loves to hate.