Read Time:2 Minute, 38 Second
A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday declined jurisdiction on a suit filed by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, challenging his suspension by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Sanusi was suspended from office on February 20.
He was dissatisfied with the suspension and filed the suit.
His ex-parte application asking the court to order his reinstatement was refused by the court.
In a ruling that lasted for about two hours, Justice Gabriel Kolawole upheld the submissions of the counsel to the president, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), and that of the counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, (AGF), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) to the effect that the case bordered on employee-employer relationship and that the proper forum for the case to be heard was the industrial court.
The court, however, refused to dismiss the case instead invoked section 24 of the National Industrial Court (NIC) Act 2012 and transferred the case to the NIC.
In transferring the case, Justice Kolawole said in line with sections 251 and 254 of the 1999 constitution, the CBN was a creation of the National Assembly and that Sanusi was a public officer.
The judge further held that since Sanusi was an employee of the CBN by virtue of the CBN Act No 7 of 2007, he was a public servant whose appointment was a labour-related matter that could be properly adjudicated upon by the industrial court.
In his preliminary objection filed in opposition to the plaintiff’s originating summons, Ajogwu had argued that the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
He said the issues raised by Sanusi bordered on labour matters.
He therefore urged the court to decline jurisdiction and dismiss the suit.
Ozekhome, who represented the AGF canvassed similar arguments.
These arguments were upheld and the suit was accordingly referred to the NIC.
The court rejected the arguments of Sanusi's counsel, Mr. Kola Awodein (SAN) and Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), who in their pleadings had said Sanusi was not an employee of the federal government but that of the Board of the CBN.
The court also upheld the argument of the counsel to the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Solomon Umoh (SAN), that the police boss should not have been joined as a party.
The court struck out the IG who was sued as 3rd defendant, holding that there was no cause of action against the IG.
The defendants had also argued that, the case of Sanusi lacked merit and did not disclose any cause of action against them.
They insisted that the case was connected and related to labour matter bordering on employment related matter and ought not to have being brought before a federal high court and should be dismissed outright.
Justice Kolawole rejected the argument that the case had no justiceable cause of action.
According to him the reliefs sought by the plaintiff were justiceable and the case was properly filed.
He also said the case disclosed sufficient cause of action.