Monday, February 24, 2014
BREAKING NEWS: I Have Absolute Power To Suspend Central Bank Governor – Jonathan
The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan says he has absolute power to suspend the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), addressing controversies tailing the suspension.
At a Presidential Media Chat held in Abuja on Monday, President Jonathan touched on some issues of national interest – the National Conference, suspension of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Kerosene subsidy, power stability and the insurgency in the north-east.
He pointed out that “Mr Sanusi is still the governor of the CBN”, explaining that the suspension was not an outright removal.
“The issue of suspension and removal are different. The CBN Act specifies that the two-third of the Senate will have to give approval to the ‘removal’ before it is implemented. They are not to give an approval before a suspension,” he said.
“Sanusi’s issue is that of financial auditing and we must allow the Financial Reporting Council to work and if Sanusi has no case to answer, when the investigations are over, he will not be prosecuted.”
The Nigerian president pointed out that “when dealing with the treasury of a country, you must be careful”, emphasising that no president will wake up and take a decision when the Central Bank is involved.
He reassured Nigerians and the international community that the
suspension would not affect the leadership of the Central Bank.
Alleged Missing Money
Sanusi had accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of not remitting $20 billion to the Federation Account before he was suspending, a claim that some critics have linked to his suspension.
But Jonathan dismissed the claims, saying that investigations on the alleged missing money had started.
“Any amount missing must be investigated and recovered. Nobody is covering anybody or group of persons. We must look into it, even if its $1 that is missing, we must get it back. That amount of money will do a lot in giving Nigerians job and infrastructure they need,” President Jonathan said.
National Conference Begins March 10
The President also said that the National Conference would begin on March 10 after the inauguration of the chairman, deputy chairman and the secretary in March 3.
The modalities of the conference had specified that issues bordering on the disintegration of Nigeria are no go area and President Jonathan explained that the report submitted by the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference showed that only one person raised the issue of disintegration of the country during their tour of the six geo-political zones.
“The chairman, deputy chairman and the secretary of the National Conference will work out how the conference will be managed.
“Nobody wants disintegration of Nigeria to be the focus of the National Conference. The purpose of the National Conference is not for disintegration. Nigeria will not disintegrate.
“The conference is necessary to prepare the new administration with a mindset that Nigerians have chosen a way they want to go,” the President said.
He expressed optimism that the conference would engender a lot of changes, but stressed that the administration would not be affected by the outcome of the conference.
Kerosene Subsidy Removal
Sanusi also accused the NNPC of sustaining the subsidy on Kerosene even after late President Umaru Yar’Adua gave a directive to suspend it.
But President Jonathan, who was the vice president at that time, said that the subsidy was not removed.
“Somebody may have found a document forgotten in a file and begin to circulate it claiming that subsidy was removed,” he said.
We Will Get Over Insurgency
The president reassured Nigerians that the government was doing its best to ensure that insurgency in the north-east would end soon.
He sympathised with those affected and assured them that the security agencies were all involved in the war on terror.
“It is not easy, but we will get over it. All security agencies are working on Boko Haram. Intelligent agencies, security agencies all are involved, not just the army.
“The approach of terrorists is different and that has made it more difficult to confront them.
“I know that the communities are worried. Even if I were them I would have felt the same way. We will continue to improve on our strategy,” he said.
The governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, had last week said that the military lacked the motivation needed in tackling the insurgents.
But the president dismissed his claims, saying that it was unfortunate that the comment came from a governor.
“If the governor thinks his statement is correct, I will pull out the military from the state for one month and see if he will stay in the Government House.”
He also refuted rumours that the presidency had the intention of replacing the elected Borno State governor with a military administrator in order to beef-up the fight against the insurgents.
“I am not aware of any plan to put a military administrator in Borno State,” he said.