By Kevwe Ebireri
President Goodluck Jonathan Monday cleared the controversies surrounding the suspension of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi when he said he had “absolute powers” to carry out the action.
Sanusi who was suspended on Thursday to allow for investigation into allegations of financial recklessness under his watch, had proceeded to the court on Friday to determine whether or not the President was legally empowered to carry out such an action against him.
Other stakeholders – the House of Representatives, the All Progressive Congress, APC, lawyers and rights advocacy groups – had condemned the move by the President, insisting that the CBN Act only provides for the removal of the governor by the President with at least two-third majority votes from the Senate.
But Jonathan, speaking during his sixth Presidential Media Chat maintained he had powers to suspend the CBN governor and only requires the approval of the Senate in a case of removal.
He stressed that Sanusi remains the governor the apex bank, explaining that his suspension was just to pave way for investigations by the Financial Reporting Council, FRC, and that if the outcome of the investigation absolves him of the accusations, he would return to complete his tenure which will expire in June.
Jonathan dismissed insinuations that Sanusi’s suspension has anything to do with his allegations of missing billions of dollars against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
He pointed out that the allegation was first made several month ago but also observed that the CBN governor had bandied different figures as missing ranging from N49.5 billion to N12billion and N20 billion.
On the issue of kerosene subsidy, President Jonathan said at no time did the federal government completely deregulate the product and that issues of pricing of petroleum products can not be done surreptitiously.
He said that although suggestions were made for the removal of subsidy from kerosene, it was kicked against by several stakeholders, including the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, who argued at the time that the policy could have negative impact on Nigerians, hence it was discarded.
The President who also responded to questions bothering on insecurity in the North, maintained that the military is winning the war against insurgency, as they keep evolving new ways to bring the situation under control.
He said the country is partnering with Cameroun to see that the borders are better protected in order to check the movement of people in and out of the country, curb infiltration of arms and ultimately put an end to the senseless killings and destruction of properties.
President Jonathan, however, expressed displeasure at the comments of the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, who said that the terrorists are on top of their game and that the military has not been able to subdue them, calling for sterner measures against the Boko Haram group.
Jonathan fired back: “If the governor of Borno state thinks that the Nigerian Forces are not doing anything, he should tell Nigerians and I will pull out all the military personnel there for only one month. let’s see whether he will still stay in that his Government House.”
Those who anchored the chat include Grace Ekpo of Wazobia FM, Goodluck Nnaji of Blaze Fm, Bolaji Tunji of the New Telegraph, and Imoni Amarere of AIT.
The sixth Presidential Media Chat lasted approximately 75 minutes.