Ruling in the suit by outgoing Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, on an application seeking to stop alleged police harassment, will be delivered April 3.
Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos announced the date on Monday after parties in the suit concluded submissions.
The embattled outgoing CBN governor filed the application for enforcement of his fundamental rights was through his Counsel, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo (SAN).
The court had on Feb. 21 granted an interim order, restraining the respondents from arresting, detaining, or harassing the applicant pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The interim order was sequel to an affidavit of urgency filed by the applicant on the same date.
Sanusi was suspended as governor of the apex bank by President Goodluck Jonathan for “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct,” and is struggling to clear his name following revelations unearthed in an audit of the CBN by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN).
Sanusi is seeking an order restraining the police and Security Service (SSS) from arresting, detaining or harassing him.
The respondents in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation AGF), inspector general of police and SSS.
Counsel to the AGF, Dr Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), had objected to the suit, urging the court to strike it out for want of jurisdiction, arguing that the provisions of Section 254 (c) 1 (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) ousted the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
He noted that the case before the court bordered on the applicant’s employment, saying that labour –related cases were within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court (NIC).
He stated: “Section 254 (c) 1 (d) of the Constitution vests exclusive jurisdiction on the National Industrial Court, with respect to civil causes or matters touching on employment, labour or industrial relations.
“We respectfully urge the court to hold that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the reliefs sought by the applicant,’’ he said.
The counsel urged the court to strike out the suit on the ground that the applicant should not, by the suit, seek to restrain the respondents from performing their constitutional duties.
He argued that there were investigations being made on the applicant in accordance with the provisions of the law, which the respondents had a statutory duty to perform.
Citing the dictum of Retired Justice Niki Tiki Tobi of the Supreme Court in the case of Adeniran vs Alao, Ajogwu submitted that a perpetual injunction would be everlasting and could not be granted by a court of law.
“The applicant’s suit is basically an action to shield him from the machinery of administration of justice, which has been kick-started by the respondents,” Ajogwu submitted.
Counsel to the police and SSS, Mr. David Abuo and Mr. Moses Idakwo, aligned themselves with the submissions of Ajogwu, with Idakwo arguing that Sanusi’s interaction with SSS official did not last for an hour and did not constitute to violation of his rights.
He said that the provisions of Section 6 of the National Security Agencies’ Act empowered the Service to impound the international passport of suspects pending the conclusion of investigations.
Responding to the preliminary objection , a member of the defence team, Mr. Kola Awodehin (SAN), submitted that the court was vested with the jurisdiction to entertain the suit and that the suit had nothing to do with the terms of employment of the applicant or industrial relations, since it was not a case of the applicant against the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He argued that the applicant never sought an order of perpetual injunction, adding that the reliefs he sought were qualified.
Said Awodehin: “It cannot be suggested that the applicant is restraining the respondents from performing their duties, but they must be restrained from doing so without due process of the law.
“The seizure of the applicant’s international passport by the third respondent is a derogation of his freedom of movement.
“The first to third respondents give conflicting reasons as to the complaint made against the applicant.
“This conflict goes to show that they acted without due process of the law.
“The allegation against the applicant as to funding of terrorism is an afterthought by the respondents which is not backed by facts, as there is no reasonable suspicion that the applicant committed any crime,” he said.
He urged the court to dismiss the preliminary objection and uphold the case of the applicant.