The Nigerian Governors’ Forum led by the Rivers State Governor, Hon Rotimi Amaechi has criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for suspending the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
At their meeting which was rounded off in the early hours of Tuesday, the Governors accused the President of trying to divert the attention of the country from the issue of the allegedly missing $ 20 billion which Sanusi raised alarm about.
The Governors also stated that the President did not have the powers to unilaterally sack the Governor of the CBN. Though in a media chat on Monday evening, the President had pointed out that with the oversight powers he has over the CBN, he can suspend the Governor. The Governors however reacted in a communiqué read by Governor Amaechi that “the suspension of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, by Mr. President is in clear breach of the Nigerian Constitution and the CBN Act, 2007. The suspension is aimed at diverting attention from the current national discourse on the missing $20billion from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Account, allegations of corruption and questionable accountability.”
The meeting which was held at the Rivers State was not all about criticisms though as the Governors lauded the efforts of the Federal Government at curbing insurgency in the North Eastern part of the country. The meeting was attended by the Governors of Rivers, Imo, Lagos, Kano, Nassarawa, Sokoto and Adamawa States. The Governors of Edo, Osun and Borno were represented by their deputies. The immediate past Governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki also made an appearance at the meeting.
Below is the text of the communiqué read after the meeting :
ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 3RD MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24 2014, AT THE RIVERS STATE GOVERNOR’S LODGE, ASOKORO, ABUJA
We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting today, at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja deliberated on a number of issues and resolved as follows:
1. The suspension of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, by Mr. President is in clear breach of the Nigerian Constitution and the CBN Act, 2007. The suspension is aimed at diverting attention from the current national discourse on the missing $20billion from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Account, allegations of corruption and questionable accountability. We support the call of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Senate Committee on Finance for a forensic audit of the NNPC Account.
2. Forum reiterates its concern about the deliberate refusal of the presidency to convene the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting for seven months. This has emasculated the constitutional opportunity to discuss the perilous state of the Nigerian economy thus plunging the nation into an economic and political crisis. In addition, members appeal to the Judiciary particularly the Supreme Court to accelerate the hearing on the constitutional cases especially the case of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and illegal deductions on oil subsidy.
3. Members condemn in totality the current spate of killings in the North East. We commend the Nigerian military and other security agencies in their effort to quell this. However, we expect that the federal government should wake up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property in the country especially in the North East.
4. It has come to our notice that the presidency is plotting to illegally impeach the Governor of Nasarawa State, Mr. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. We condemn this renewed assault on constitutional democracy.
Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi
Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum
February 24th, 2014