Falana Condemns Sanusi’s Donations to Varsities

A Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has condemned the way and manner the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was going about donating funds to some universities and groups in the country.
Falana, in a statement made available to yesterday, said such donations by Sanusi were made to the exclusion of other public universities in the country, which  were also in dire need of financial support.
He said if Sanusi was prudent in the way he was doling out money, he should, have channelled such to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which had been on strike since July this year due to the federal government’s failure to meet the 2009 agreement it reached with the union.
According to him, the CBN governor prefers to spend money on frivolities such as being awarded honorary doctorate degrees by friendly universities.
Falana also alleged that the failure of President Goodluck Jonathan to call the CBN boss to order on how he expends tax payer’s money, had emboldened him to covert the country’s apex financial institution to a charitable organisation.
The statement read: “For the past two years, I have repeatedly drawn the attention of the federal government to the illegality of allowing the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to convert the CBN to a charitable institution. Since the Goodluck Jonathan administration failed in its duty to call him to order, Sanusi has been behaving like Father Christmas by donating billions of naira to causes that suit his fancy. Whereas ASUU has been on strike since July 2013 to demand for adequate funding for all public universities in the country, Sanusi decided to donate the sum of N10 billion to Othman Dan Fodio University on August 19, 2013. The so called intervention fund was made available to the institution to the exclusion of other public universities which are equally in dire need of financial support.
“Before the latest discriminatory donation, Sanusi hagimped available N4 billion to the Bayero University, Kano and hundreds of millions of naira to the University of Benin and some universities which gave him honorary doctorate degrees. His alma mater, King’s College, Lagos and a few other secondary schools have also benefitted from the largesse of the CBN. Of course, it is public knowledge that the CBN governor had donated N135 million to some selected victims of terrorist attacks in Kano and Niger States. Apart from usurping the statutory duties of the National Emergency Management Agency, National Universities Commission among others, the CBN has been operating outside the provisions of the Appropriation Act.
“Such extra-budgetary donation of billions of naira to selected bodies and individuals by the CBN has dangerous implications for the neo-colonial economy. Since the donations and intervention funds are taken from the vaults of the CBN owned by the Nigerian people they cannot be subjected to the whims and caprices of the management of the bank under a constitutional democracy.
“As there is equality before the law each of the public universities is entitled to equal treatment by the federal government and all its agencies including the CBN. Since the CBN claims that it is discharging its corporate duty or social responsibility it cannot operate on the basis of discrimination or favouritism.
“Having donated N10 billion to the Othman Dan Fodio the CBN should, as a matter of urgency, provide intervention fund of the same amount to each of the other public universities without any further delay. In the interest of the national economy it is high time the National Assembly complied with the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution by subjecting the CBN to budgetary control and supervision.”