Developing news on the ongoing battle between the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the federal government over the alleged harassment, arrest and confiscation of Sanusi’s passport by operatives of the Department for State Security (DSS) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos has emerged.
According to a fundamental human right enforcement suit filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos, Sanusi had accused the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Inspector-General of Police of harassing him through the DSS which he sued as the third respondents for seizing his international passport.
The court granted his request for some reliefs from the court among which was the release of his passport amongst others.
However, it has been revealed that Sanusi, allegedly, misled the court and public into believing that his personal international passport was seized by the DSS and not his diplomatic passport, which he held by virtue of his position as Governor of the CBN.
The DSS in fact deposed to an affidavit that it was Sanusi’s diplomatic passport that was impounded and that the seizure of his diplomatic passport would not have restricted his right to exit and entrance into Nigeria as guaranteed under the constitution. It was also revealed that Sanusi did not controvert DSS’s averment as to the seizure of his diplomatic passport.
In the originating summons which he filed at the court, the suspended CBN governor had alleged the DSS seized his international passport and as a result, he had been unable to travel out of the country and thus, his freedom of movement had been violated. The DSS has debunked this claim confirming that it was Sanusi’s diplomatic passport that was impounded.
Meanwhile, in a notice of appeal filed by the counsel to the AGF, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and Dr. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), last week, the federal government equally said Justice Ibrahim Buba erred in law when he assumed jurisdiction to entertain the case against it.
It maintained in the appeal that the dispute between it and Sanusi is related to a dispute over the interpretation and application of the provisions of Chapter IV of the Constitution as it relates to his employment as the Governor of the CBN and seizure of his work-related passport (Diplomatic Passport) issued to him by virtue of his employment as the CBN Governor.
The government argued that by virtue of Section 254C(1) of the 1999 Constitution (Third Alteration) Act, 2010, the Federal High Court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the matter of seizure of work related passport (Diplomatic Passport) of the embattled suspended governor and his fundamental rights as they are matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court (NIC).