Hearing in the suit filed against the Federal Government by the ousted Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi could not proceed as scheduled on Wednesday as the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole was absent from court.
The parties in court were informed that Justice Kolawole was attending a “seminar” , the hearing was then adjourned till March 19th 2014.
The ousted governor filed the suit at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday February 24th 2014, challenging his suspension from office, and imploring the court to, among others, restrain the president — alongside the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) — from giving effect to his suspension, pending the determination of the lawsuit.
In his suit Mr. Sanusi stated clearly that he was challenging the president’s power to suspend him from office, especially as the Senate’s ratification of the decision was not sought. He also sought an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from obstructing, disturbing, stopping or preventing him in any manner, from performing the functions of his office and enjoying in full, the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office of the governor of the CBN.
The suit further argued that the president’s unlawful interference with the management and administration of the CBN can only be left unaddressed at the expense of the country’s economy. Granting his application, he had gone on, will encourage parties to maintain the status quo until the determination of the substantive case.
He also insisted that his suspension was the consequence of his outcry over the $20bn in crude oil sales that was unremitted to the Federation Account by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
But on February 27th 2014, Justice Kolawole refused to grant Sanusi an interlocutory injunction reversing the president’s decision, saying it would be unfair to grant such an application without affording the respondents an opportunity to present their case in court.
“It is unsafe, judicially speaking, to embark on far-reaching interim orders, which have all the attributes of a mandatory injunction without according the defendants a hearing”, he had said.