Friday, 4 April 2014

Federal Court Awards Ousted CBN Governor Sanusi N50million Damages

A Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Services from arresting or harassing the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido. The court also ordered the DSS to release Mr. Sanusi’s passport to him immediately while also awarding the embattled CBN boss N50 million in exemplary damages. Mr. Sanusi’s passport was seized on February 20, as he arrived the Lagos international airport, hours after he was suspended as CBN Governor by President Goodluck Jonathan..

Mr. Sanusi, in separate suits, challenged his suspension, and asked for an enforcement of his fundamental rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. The court had on February 21 granted an interim order, restraining the respondents from arresting, detaining, or harassing the applicant pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The interim order was sequel to an affidavit of urgency filed by the applicant on the same date. On Monday, the court adjourned to April 4 ruling on the preliminary objection raised against the restraining order by the SSS and the police. The court has now ruled, saying the government and its agencies have no basis to arrest or harass Mr. Sanusi. The court also frowned at the seizure of the CBN Governor’s travelling documents.

During the hearing of the rights’ suit, on Monday, the respondents – the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF; the Police; and the SSS – made different claims. The agency SSS said it was investigating Mr. Sanusi for allegedly financing terrorism. The SSS counsel, Moses Idakwo, said Mr. Sanusi’s interaction with SSS officials did not last for up to an hour and did not constitute a violation of his rights.

He said the provisions of Section 6 of the National Security Agencies’ Act empowered the Service to impound the international passport of suspects pending the conclusion of investigations. It is not clear how this fresh allegation by the SSS is related to the dubious claims by Mr. Omokri.
On Monday, however, Mr. Sanusi’s counsel, Kola Awodehin, accused the SSS of falsehood in its new claim against the bank chief, saying the agency had no shred of evidence. The counsel to the AGF, Fabian Ajogwu, had objected to the suit, urging the court to strike it out for want of jurisdiction.
Mr. Ajogwu argued that the provisions of Section 254 (c) 1 (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) ousted the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

He noted that the case before the court borders on the applicant’s employment, saying that labour -related cases are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court, NIC.
“Section 254 (c) 1 (d) of the Constitution vests exclusive jurisdiction on the National Industrial Court, with respect to civil causes 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,” he said.

The counsel urged the court to strike out the suit.

No comments: