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EDITORIAL: Did Tinubu Break the Law by Suspending Emefiele?

For some Nigerians, news of President Bola Tinubu’s decision to suspend Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, came as a surprise. But others expected the decision, going by social media reactions.

Now the dust has settled, and questions have begun to spring up. Did the president break the law? Was he wrong to not get the Senate’s approval? Was the move legal?

To answer these questions, let us take a stroll down memory lane to the first time lightning struck this exact spot.

In February 2014, Goodluck Jonathan, then president, suspended Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the CBN Governor at the time.

Jonathan’s government accused Sanusi of poor management of Nigeria’s finances, but there were perceptions that Sanusi was not popular amongst the political elite.

Challenging the decision, Sanusi went to a federal high court to seek judicial intervention over what he dubbed an unlawful move by the president.

Sanusi’s argument was that according to the 2007 CBN Act, only a two-third majority of the senate could remove him from his position, and not the president.

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The federal government argued that the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter, and asked that it be reassigned to the industrial court.

In May 2014, Gabriel Kolawole, the presiding judge, transferred the case to the National Industrial Court (NIC).

While doing so, he announced that going by sections 251 and 254 of the 1999 constitution as amended, the office of the CBN Governor was that of a public officer.

He said the president had the power to discipline any public servant.

Kolawole never pronounced that the president was right or wrong to suspend Sanusi, but interpreted the law to say the president could discipline.

However, the matter was supposed to continue in the NIC for better clarification, but it never did.

Sanusi became Emir of Kano, and never returned to his office as CBN Governor.

Now, lightning has struck the same place a second time, and by precedent, the matter can only be heard by the NIC, and not the federal high court.

Should Emefiele be willing to challenge the decision, his first point of call would be the labour court, and it would be open to their interpretation of the law.


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At the time of filing this report, the president had never sacked a CBN Governor, but with the first case of suspension leading to a replacement at the helm of the bank’s affairs, it remains to be seen if this case would take a similar turn.

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Segun Akinlabi

Media Blogger

EgalitarianVoice is a subsidiary of EGALITARIAN MEDIA HUB, it is a blog that keeps you up to date latest news and updates all around the world.

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The site is managed by Egalitarian Segun AKINLABI who is the Editor-in-chief, others editors from Egalitarian Team Oyo State, Nigeria.


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