Why Lamido Sanusi Should End Up In Kirikiri Prison by Femi Aribisala

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One of the more annoying things about Nigeria is that our thieves are bad thieves. Conventionally, thieves operate at the night, out of respect for the homeowner and law-enforcement agencies. Not in Nigeria: thieves operate here in broad daylight in absolute contempt of everybody.


In Nigeria, thieves know they will not be caught.  They know if they are caught, they will not be tried.  They know if they are tried, they will not go to jail.  Therefore, there is a culture of impunity in Nigeria which makes the country a holiday-resort for thieves and robbers.

Jail or dismissal?

Nothing speaks more eloquently about this culture of impunity than the CBN under Lamido Sanusi.  Sanusi’s posture as CBN Governor is an insult to Nigerians.  He ran the place as a personal estate.  He flouted every financial regulation.

He gave away government money in a flagrant manner that would give pause to even billionaire Mike Adenuga.  And then when he knew the game was up, he decided to blow the lid on NNPC financial indiscretions, in order to distract attention and attract public support and sympathy.  Nigerians should not fall for this “mago-mago.”  Lamido Sanusi should not only be sacked, he should be tried and, if convicted, should be jailed.

The government has called Sanusi’s bluff.  In a sleight of hand, he has been summarily dismissed from office under the guise of suspension.  This has created some brouhaha because the President needs Senate approval for the dismissal of a CBN Governor.  But the president has found a way round that impediment.  Sanusi has been suspended; he has not been fired.  Surely, the president has the power to suspend a public employee for questionable conduct, pending the confirmation of his wrongdoing.  If the allegations against him are found to be without substance, he can then return to his post.

However, since Sanusi’s term will soon expire, the president has gone right along to nominate his replacement.  It is all politics, and not just Nigerian-style.  Separation of powers is a judicious principle of federalist government, but there is something anomalous about a CBN governor transforming himself overnight into an opposition politician spokesman.  There is also something unacceptable about the arrogance of Sanusi which makes him feel he is an untouchable.  Under the circumstances, his suspension/dismissal from office is not surprising.  Indeed, it is all the more imperative given the financial improprieties that have characterised his tenure in office.

Distorted timeline

The major sticking point with Sanusi’s “dismissal” is the widespread assumption that it is payback for him blowing the whistle about the whopping $20 billion missing from NNPC accounts.  However, there is every probability that the opposite is what happened.  The government was the first to query Sanusi about his financial improprieties.  When he could not explain them, Sanusi went on the offensive by making public statements about missing monies at NNPC.  This would explain why his allegations tuned out to be shambolic.

The last thing a country needs is a CBN governor who talks frivolously.  The word of a CBN governor has implications for financial market volatility; therefore he must mark his words.  He must speak with confidence and precision.  Not so with Lamido Sanusi.  Sanusi went public and made a monkey of his credibility.  First, he said $49 billion was missing from NNPC accounts.  Then he said it was $10 billion; and then it was $20 billion.  What will it be tomorrow?  How come Sanusi did not determine precisely the amount before broadcasting it to the world?  It would appear that Sanusi’s reckless disclosures came out of the need for him to cover his tracks at the CBN.  Knowing that the book would soon be thrown at him, he decided to lay the grounds for saying he was being accused of financial improprieties because he exposed those of others.

This is not to deny that there are, in all probability, huge financial improprieties hidden in NNPC accounts.  However, the very fact that a CBN governor decided to go public with them is highly suspect.  A CBN governor does not make such public disclosures as CBN governor.  He resigns first.  It is even more suspect given the fact that the very person who would have us believe he is taking the moral high ground with these disclosures is the same person we have now learnt has run the accounts of the CBN like a bull in a china shop.  Sanusi is anything but a foolish man.  He surely knows that those who live in glass houses don’t throw stones.

Sanusi knew something was up.  Therefore, he decided to go on the offensive.  What he has done is to curry favour the Nigerian public by raising alarm about missing monies, even when he did not have the full facts, in order to preempt the disclosures about his own financial improprieties.

This strategy has succeeded in part.  Sanusi has immediately become the darling of the opposition APC party.  Muhammadu Buhari, the self-styled apostle of anti-corruption, has come out in his staunch defense, giving us a taste of the kind of anti-corruption his APC has in mind.  There is a déjà vu to this.  It is the kind of hypocritical anti-corruption where the airports and seaports of Nigeria can be closed to everyone, but the Emir of Gwandu can bring in 53 suitcases under the escort of the aide-de-camp of the Head of State.

Financial atrocities

The financial atrocities in the CBN under Sanusi are simply outrageous.  If this is how government agencies steal and mismanage public funds, then Nigeria is in more trouble than we have ever imagined.  CBN accounts under Sanusi read like pure fiction.  While crying foul about missing money in NNPC, Sanusi failed to account for missing monies in CBN.  Investigating the CBN in April 2013, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) discovered that ?38.23 billion was missing.  The money was said to have been paid to MINT- a subsidiary of the CBN.  However, MINT accounts showed no such money was received.

It is only in Nigeria that you can have a Central Bank governor spend government money anyhow at his own discretion.  Sanusi did not just spend a few thousand naira whimsically.  He did not just give away millions of naira like Aliko Dangote.  He gave away billions.  The government reveals that Sanusi gave away nothing less than ?163 billion in no less than 63 “intervention projects” in different parts of the country.  Remember this: that is more than the entire 2014 budget of Edo State.

Just listen to this: the CBN is said to have paid ?38 billion to the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) in 2011 for printing banknotes.  However this is in excess of the total turnover of NSPMC that same year, which was only ?29 billion.  The CBN claims to have paid Emirate Airline ?511 million for currency distribution nationwide in 2011 when the airline does not have a local charter service in Nigeria. It reports ?425 million was paid to Wing Airline, but the airline is not even registered in Nigeria.  It also claims to have paid Associated Airline ?1 billion for the same purpose, but the airline did not have up to a billion-naira turnover in 2011.

In its 2011 account under “sundries” (i.e. unexplained expenses), Sanusi’s CBN reported an expenditure of ?1.1 billion.  For legal and professional fees that same year, it claimed to have spent an amazing ?20 billion.  This is simply mind-boggling.  So mind-boggling in fact that naïve people like me don’t believe a word of it.  These are just crooked details designed to mask the massive corruption and graft under Sanusi’s watch.

In 2012, ?1.2 billion was listed as expenses on “private guards” and “lunch for policemen.”  Wow!  These policemen must have been having caviar for lunch.  Similarly, ?1.6 billion was spent on newspapers, books and periodicals alone that same year.  Pull another leg.  Who believes this kind of rigmarole?

Still in 2012, ?3 billion was spent on “promotional activities.”  Pray, to whom was the CBN doing this promotion?  Where did these promotional activities take place and to what purpose?  Was it in Nigeria or in outer space?  Which bank was CBN in competition with?  Was it the World Bank or the African Development Bank?  Was the CBN trying to attract depositors or customers?  Or was it paying legislators so that its powers would not be curtailed?

Nobody should condone Sanusi’s financial recklessness.  He also played Father Christmas with Nigeria’s money.  According to the government, Sanusi’s CBN wrote-off loans to the tune of ?40 billion.  Without board or presidential approval, Sanusi spent ?743 million of CBN money acquiring 7 percent shares of the International Islamic Management Corporation of Malaysia, contrary to the provisions of the CBN Act.

Off to Kirikiri

It is a big indictment of the Jonathan administration that this impunity was tolerated for this long and was only addressed after Sanusi became a political embarrassment to the government.  The billion-naira question now is what is going to happen to Sanusi.  Will he get away with these corrupt practices or will he be prosecuted to the full extent of the law?  My position is that we need to chart a new course in the treatment of corruption in Nigeria.  If Sanusi is truly guilty of these improprieties, he should be sent to jail; for a very long time.

However, the bet is on that nothing will happen to him beyond his dismissal from office. It appears nothing is also going to happen to Deziani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Petroleum.  The missing $20 billion at NNPC will also be swept under the carpet.  All the signs of a cover-up are already apparent.  The FRC indicted all the Deputy Governors of the CBN along with the Governor and asked that they all be sacked.  However, not only were they not sacked, one of them has been made the new Acting Governor.  In all likelihood, this culture of impunity will remain for the simple reason that it seems to go all the way to the very highest echelons of the Nigerian government.

By Femi Aribisala 

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  1. I have always made reference indicting Sanusi working for the opposition party APC as against his Original employer GEJ all in the name of dirty politics and power struggle. WHO IS THE BOOS?

  2. This is indeed corruption in the highest level, I feel for my beloved Nigeria course if nothing is done about this, this country will go into doom. Too bad.

  3. Mr Aribisala, I am beginning to supect you, so even if Jona was punishing SLS for financial missapropiation, can’t u ask yourself a very simple and sensible quwstion? Why hasn’t he sacked Madueke, or Oteh or Oduah and co, the list is endless. This is somebody that gives presidential cover to corporate criminals, why do you think he was quick to respond to SLS’s critisisms and acusations? I urge you to go and rethink your ideas, coz am beginning to think you are a beneficiary of the said missing $20bn.

  4. Femi Aribisala or what do you call yourself . Who paid you for your faceless write-up. Posterity will not forgive you for the truth that you know that you cover……Bunch of rougues.

  5. Those who performed the unworthy joining of the Entity called Nigeria about 1OOO years did a massive disservice to humanity since nobody needed to confirm a miss-marriage it has turned out to be!!! it has been a century year of bad and horrible leadership, wasted identity, reign of terror, ……..come Lord, save us from this demonic personalities called politicians in Nigeria

  6. Those who performed the unworthy joining of the Entity called Nigeria about 1OO years (one hundred years ago} did a massive disservice to humanity since nobody needed to confirm a miss-marriage it has turned out to be!!! it has been a century year of bad and horrible leadership, wasted identity, reign of terror, ……..come Lord, save us from this demonic personalities called politicians in Nigeria

  7. I do not come to venerate Sanusi Lamido Sanusi,
    for he is not a saint. As much as I admire him,
    there are flaws too obvious to ignore. But this is
    not a time for psychoanalysis; it is a time to set
    truth apart from fiction . When the (suspended)
    CBN Governor made his submission on how our
    nation was being robbed at the Senate, the
    response was predictable; ignore the message,
    and go after the messenger.
    I read the Financial Reporting Council report that
    formed the basis of Governor Sanusi’s suspension
    and I thought it useful to leave a few comments.
    While most of the accusations in the report are
    ambiguous and unclear, some of the more
    sensational are easily explained .
    1. The CBN paid N38.223 billion to the Nigerian
    Security Printing & Minting Company in 2011 to
    print bank notes, whereas the entire turnover of
    NSPMC in that year was N29.37 billion.
    The CBN uses four companies to print notes;
    NSPMC and three foreign companies. If NSPMC
    recorded 75% of the total amount spent, it only
    means the other three companies got 25% of the
    business. Let us move to the more serious ones…
    2. The CBN allegedly made rogue payments as air
    charter fees to Emirates Airways, Associated
    Airline and Wings Airlines for nationwide currency
    distribution. Emirates Airways do not operate a
    local charter service, Wings was unregistered with
    NCAA and Associated did not have records of the
    payments from the CBN.
    The FRC is correct that Emirates Airways does not
    operate a domestic charter service. The only
    problem here is that the CBN did not contract
    “Emirates Airways” to move currency, it used a
    private charter company called “Emirate Touch
    Airways” instead. When you want to accuse
    someone, at least get the names right. If
    Associated Airlines does not have a record of the
    transaction, why is the CBN to blame? The CBN’s
    responsibility is to show proof of payments made
    to Associated; if it has done so, the rest of the
    discussion is between Associated and the FIRS.
    The final one is that Wings was an unregistered
    airline, I am sure the NCAA can answer this with
    clear evidence of registration at the time of
    contract award.
    3. Legal and professional fees spiked in 2011
    compared with 2012 – N20.2 billion in 2011 and
    N10.46 billion in 2012
    2011 was a landmark year for banking in Nigeria;
    starting with the sale of eight banks that failed
    the 2009 special examination. Five of those banks
    were recapitalized via mergers & acquisitions,
    while the other three were nationalized. AMCON
    was established to acquire qualifying non-
    performing loans (NPLs) from all banks in Nigeria
    and inject equity into the rescued banks. These
    transactions needed significant legal services,
    which explain the N20 billion spent in 2011. To
    rationalize this, N20b is about 3% of the N620
    billion spent recapitalizing the bank alone. The
    CBN was also sued by shareholders and owners of
    the recapitalized banks, and needed legal services
    to set AMCON up. Not so scandalous anymore? I
    think so too.
    4. Promotional activities of N3.1 billion from N1.1
    billion in 2012 despite not having a competitor in
    What the investigators imply is you don’t need to
    promote your activities because you’re a
    monopoly. It means that EFCC (remember “Maga
    no need pay”), NAFDAC and other federal
    agencies who use the media to amplify their
    activities and sensitize the public might be acting
    recklessly. It is worth remembering that the CBN
    introduced a Cash Lite policy and continues to
    focus on financial inclusion and literacy. If you
    dont promote these activities, how will adoption
    improve ?
    5. N1.3 billion to feed policemen and pay for
    private guards
    It is easy to see N1.3 billion and scream
    corruption. But let’s employ some logic. The CBN
    is one of the biggest employers of security,
    especially for the regular protection and
    movement of currency and security documents.
    The question we should ask is how many security
    agents did that amount cover. It is well known
    that organizations are often responsible for police
    officers attached to them. If the CBN employed
    2,000 police officers and paid them a stipend N2,
    000 daily (or N60, 000 per month), that will come
    to N4 million daily and N1.2 billion per annum.
    Not so scandalous anymore? Moving on.
    6. CBN’s investment in the International Islamic
    Liquidity Management Corporation without
    obtaining a board approval.
    This investment was approved by the President of
    the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If the approval of
    the CBN board was not obtained, why did the
    President assent to this illegality? If Governor
    Sanusi is held accountable for every document he
    signed, the same should hold for President
    The CBN Annual Report is available for anyone
    willing to read over 400 pages of boring stuff. If
    like me, you want to get a summary, skip to Page
    21. There, you will find that the CBN reduced its
    overall operating expenses by 6.5%, and
    contributed N80.3 billion to the Federation
    Account in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
    Before Governor Sanusi’s term, this amount was
    around N8 billion. Growing the CBN’s contribution
    to the Federation Account tenfold is the biggest
    indication of financial recklessness I found in the
    audited accounts.

  8. Dear Readers !
    I’m a stupid writer that was paid to write nonsense pls ignore the above article . it is unemployment that render me intellectually bankrupt thanks as you ignore . I will not do it again
    Femi Aribisala

  9. Aribisala F is a goat! The profligacy by the GEJ government is astounding and SLS’s indiscretion (if any) is pardonable compared to the excesses of the government he served!

  10. with myopic views like femi’s, i strongly doubt if there is hope for this country. u obviously had ur cut of the missing 20 billion. u accussed a man of recklessness yet u cant point out any evidences. since when has interventions in decaying educational sector become reckless spendings? take a look at the curent budget & check out aso rock expenses. our all knowing, harvard trained okonjo could not even explain how 11 billion dollars was expended. pls bury your head in shame cos ur children will ask u questions u wont be able to answer.shame.

  11. Femi u r a big fool,from a stupid family,raised by a bitch-mother.If I may ask u smtin,who’s supoz to end up in kirikiri prison?u or ur moda?

  12. I have never in my life came across a non sensical write up by a demented big-headed fool than the one I have just read. Femi (or whatever you call ursef) should be ashamed of yourself for taking ur pen and writing some sort of baseless claims that are outright libellous against the SLS. It is very unfortunate that Oga Jona is paying Sanusi that way for completely overhauling the banking and financial sector of the economy. I am very sure CBN and Nigeria will never have another man of such an integrity in the nearest future. It is very clear that Oga Jona and co (Ngozi, Madueke etc) are holding Nigeria at ransom. May Allah bring our beloved Nigeria out of such mess.


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