A Nigerian Federal High Court in Lagos has barred the agents of the Nigerian police and State Security Services from arresting the suspended governor of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
The motion exparte was granted by Justice Ibrahim Buba today, after Sanusi’s lawyers filed an affidavit of urgency, deposed to by Malam Sanusi Lamido, in which he expressed grave fears about his freedom and personal liberty.
Sanusi himself arrived at the Federal court to swear to the affidavit at about 3.34 pm. He left instantly afterwards.
Lawyers from the chambers of former Lagos state attorney-general, Professor Yemi Osibajo were seen in Justice Ibrahim Buba’s court, where they held a closed session with the judge to argue their case, that Sanusi deserved the shield of the court from feared violations by agents of the state against his personal liberty.
The lawyers were: Mrs V.O.M. Longe, Ikem Isiekwena, Bashiru Ramini, Benjamin Omoruyi and Loretta Ossai.
Justice Buba in his ruling urged the defendants, who include the Inspector General of Police, the DG of the SSS and the attorney-general of the Federation, to maintain the status quo until “hearing and determination of the motion on notice”.
The matter was adjourned for further hearing 28 February.
Sanusi has dismissed the allegations of misconduct against him and said he believed he was removed because of his attacks on the powerful state Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Yesterday, on arrival from Niamey, Niger Republic, Sanusi was delayed at the Lagos airport and his Nigerian travelling passport seized by the SSS.
“His passport is still with them,” said Malam Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister and Sanusi’s friend.
Sanusi was suspended yesterday by President Goodluck Jonathan, few months to the end of his five-year tenure, amidst the allegations made by Sanusi that the state-owned oil corporation, the NNPC was owing the national treasury $20billion, being unremitted proceeds from oil sales from January 2012 to June 2013.
Federal Government responded by excavating an older issue of financial allegations against Sanusi as governor of the bank and shove him out of office.
Sanusi in several interviews, has promised to challenge the suspension in court of law.
His first step today, however, was to safeguard his personal liberty.