The Department of State Security Service, DSS, Monday, told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Lamido Sanusi, is a financier of terrorist activities.
The SSS made the allegation in counter-affidavits presented before court at the hearing of a suit filed by Sanusi who is seeking a perpetual injunction to restrain the Service and the police from arresting him.
On February 21, the court granted the suspended bank chief an interim order of injunction restraining the respondents from arresting, detaining, or harassing him pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, the Police and the SSS are the first to third respondents respectively.
Sanusi’s lawyer, Kola Awodein, who made reference to the allegation on Monday, told the court it was merely an afterthought which government came up with after seizing his client’s passport.
Awodein said, “The allegation against the applicant as to funding of terrorism is an afterthought by the respondents, which is not backed by facts, as there is no reasonable suspicion that the applicant committed any crime.”
He said further that the seizure of the applicant’s international passport by the third respondent after his suspension in March, was a violation of his freedom of movement, adding that “the law clearly defines how such duties should be performed”.
But the respondents in objecting to the suit urged the court to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.
Counsel to the AGF, Fabian Ajogwu, while moving his preliminary objection to the suit, argued that the suit bordered on employment and as such the provisions of Section 254 (c) 1 (d) of the 1999 Constitution had vested jurisdiction to entertain such suit in the National Industrial Court.
He said, “Section 254 (c) 1 (d) of the Constitution vests exclusive jurisdiction in the NIC with respect to civil cases or matters touching on employment, labour or industrial relations. We respectfully urge the court to hold that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the reliefs sought by the applicant, and strike out the suit.”
Ajogwu also argued that the applicant was trying to restrain government from performing its constitutional and statutory duties.
“My Lord, this suit is speculative, hypocritical and an attempt to shield the applicant from the machinery of the administration of justice, which the federal government has started,” he said
He also submitted that the applicant was not entitled to a grant of perpetual injunction, restraining them from performing their constitutional duties.
Lawyers to the Police, David Abuo, and SSS, Moses Idakwo, also associated themselves with Ajogwu’s submissions.
Idakwo said that it was absurd for the applicant to argue that an interaction with the SSS for less than an hour amounted to a violation of his rights.
He maintained that the provisions of Section 6 of the National Security Agencies Act, empowered the Service to impound the international passport of a suspect, pending the conclusion of investigations and therefore urged the court to strike out the applicant’s suit.
But Sanusi’s counsel countered their arguments saying that it was not true that his client was trying to prevent the security agencies from performing their duties.
“It cannot be suggested that the applicant is restraining the respondents from performing their duties, but they must be restrained from doing so without due process of the law. The seizure of the applicant’s passport by the third respondent is a violation of his freedom of movement,” he said.
He also stressed that the suit had nothing to do with the terms of employment of the applicant or industrial relation as submitted by Ajogwu and maintained that the court was clearly vested with jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Justice Ibrahim Buba after entertaining arguments from both sides, adjourned ruling till April 3.