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Nigeria: Mixed reactions trail suspension of CBN Governor, Sanusi

Following Thursday’s suspension, by President Goodluck Jonathan, of Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerians have been expressing divergent views over the measure, which the government said was taken to re-engineer a strong and viable Nigerian economy.

Reassuring stakeholders in the Nigerian economy that the new changes would not affect the nation’s monetary policy, President Jonathan has since nominated the Chief Executive of the privately-owned Zenith Bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for Senate confirmation as the new CBN Governor.

Giving reasons for the suspension, the government alleged that Sanusi’s tenure had been characterised by acts of financial recklessness and misconduct inconsistent with the core mandate of the Central Bank.

While some hailed the decision of Government to suspend the CBN Governor, others described the action as hasty and moves that smack vendetta.

“To my own candid opinion, if the CBN Governor has contravened the laws of his office, he has to be suspended. He is a good man no doubt about it, but I think he talks too much,” Mr. Macdonald Oladipo, told PANA in an exclusive interview.

The public affairs analyst continued, ”I don’t really think a public figure should speak the way he speaks in public, he should reserve his comments or pass memos to the appropriate authority than just be speaking as if he is anti-government. No matter what, he is part of the government, because he is the financial controller of the country, so if he has been suspended I think they have done the right thing at the right time.”

Speaking in the same vein, an economist, Mr. Okechukwu Emmanuel, said the suspension was justified because “Sanusi seems not to have regard for the government, even though he is part of the system and establishment.”

However, some Nigerians said the suspension was beyond the allegations. They said the real reason for the action was the US$20 billion oil money that Sanusi alleged was missing, giving the fact that the state oil company, NNPC, has failed to remit the money into the Federation Account.

These group of people also said the decision to go ahead with the suspension even as investigation was  ongoing and the fact that Sanusi’s tenure as the CBN Governor will soon expire, makes the suspension hasty.

According to a financial analyst, Mr. Adio Suleman, “The issue is just allegations and counter allegations from the government and its agent. Sanusi has made his point by telling us that US$20 billion was missing. No matter what allegation the government might cook up against him, people see him as someone who is on the right side of history.

“The government wants to use the allegation to rubbish him. Was it not just last week we read  in the national newspapers that some amount of money has been remitted to the Federation account by the NNPC, as a result of the revelation by Sanusi?. So that is exactly the situation we found ourselves,corruption has been the order of the day under this government”.

At the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) office in the commercial city of Lagos, workers were observed discussing the issue when the news of the suspension filtered into the imposing building.

Some of the staff who spoke with PANA, under anonymity, said Sanusi’s tenure brought unprecedented reforms which saved the banking sector from total collapse.

The government ordered that Sanusi should hand over to the most senior Deputy Governor of the CBN, Dr. Sarah Alade, who will serve as Acting Governor ”until the conclusion of ongoing investigations into breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN”.

In a statement posted on its website on Thursday, CBN assures all stakeholders, especially market operators, international investors and the general public that as an institution it remained stable and will continue to facilitate the smooth functioning of the financial markets as well as ensure currency and price stability.

President Jonathan has also nominated Mr. Adelabu Adebayo Adekoya to the Senate for confirmation as deputy governor of the apex bank.

Mr. Adekoya is an Executive Director of the First Bank Plc., another leading financial institution in Nigeria.


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