Reacting to the suspension in a statement issued by his media office in Abuja, the former Vice President maintained that the President had no power to remove or suspend the CBN Governor in such manner.
According to Atiku, silence in the face of such abuse of power by the President of the country was capable of sending the wrong message and setting a dangerous precedent.
The former Vice President recalled that, when he became a victim of such abuse of power in the past following his suspension as Vice President by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he went to court to challenge the action and that the Federal High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court ruled that a President cannot suspend a public officer he had no power to sack.
The former Vice President, who confessed that he has no details of the nature of Sanusi’s alleged “offences”, neither was he in the position to defend them, said “whatever might be the offence Sanusi committed, President Jonathan should have followed constitutional process to suspend or remove the CBN Governor instead of exceeding the boundary of his powers.”
“This is not about Sanusi as a person, or the person nominated to succeed him, Godwin Emefiele who is a thorough bred professional. It is about due process that should be upheld,” Atiku said.
Atiku therefore advised the suspended the CBN Governor to go to court to challenge his suspension in the interest of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
Sanusi had in a telephone interview with the CNBC Africa after his suspension Thursday morning pledged to challenge it in court to save the institution.“As an individual, I was invited to serve my country, and I have always known that at any point the government feels it is time to go, I will go. But, in terms of the institution, it would be helpful to establish the principle by the court, and I think that is the step I intend to take,”he said .
He added that “If not challenged, then from now the next CBN governor cannot be independent. He can be suspended for any reason, and the independence of the CBN would be totally undermined. It is important to establish the point legally whether this can happen. I do plan to ask the court to confirm if, indeed, that authority exists. I will challenge it.”
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