President Tinubu’s recent suspension of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as reported earlier, has sparked concerns regarding the legality of the action. The move has drawn attention to the provisions outlined in the Central Bank Act of 2007, which define the conditions under which a central bank governor can be removed from office.
Section 11 of the Act clearly states that the president has the authority to terminate the appointment of a central bank governor if he obtains a two-thirds majority support from the Senate. Additionally, a governor can be removed if convicted of a criminal offense by a court of competent jurisdiction, except for traffic offenses or contempt proceedings related to the execution of their duties. The Act also specifies that a governor can be removed for serious misconduct, being disqualified or suspended from practicing their profession in Nigeria, or becoming bankrupt.
However, none of these provisions grant the president the power to suspend a CBN governor during an ongoing investigation. This raises concerns about the potential threat to the independence of the central bank. The Act clearly outlines the process for removal and emphasizes the need for the support of lawmakers to safeguard against arbitrary actions.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time a CBN governor has been suspended by a president. Back in 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan suspended former CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, which paved the way for the appointment of Godwin Emefiele as the central bank governor.
The recent suspension of the CBN governor has triggered debates and discussions regarding the limits of presidential powers and the need to protect the independence of key financial institutions. The CBN plays a crucial role in ensuring monetary stability and promoting economic growth in Nigeria. Any action that may compromise its independence could have far-reaching consequences for the country’s financial system and overall governance.
As the situation unfolds, stakeholders and legal experts are closely examining the legal basis for the suspension and its implications. The outcome of these discussions will shed light on the extent to which the independence of the central bank is respected and protected within Nigeria’s governance framework.