The running battle between the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the Presidency yesterday took another turn, as his passport was seized at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport as he was about to board a Turkish airline en-route France.
The former CBN governor arrived at the VIP lounge of the airport accompanied by his family members and relatives at exactly 9:45 pm. On submission of his passport to the Immigration personnel, Sanusi had to wait for hours in anticipation for the release of the travelling document, but realized later that the passport had been seized by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS).
Reacting to the development, Sanusi told LEADERSHIP Sunday that he was at the airport to board a Turkish airline to France for a two-week course, before proceeding to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj.
According to the former CBN governor, it was surprising for him to be told by the immigration that the SSS had on the orders from the Presidency seized his travelling passport.
“The court has ordered the federal government to return my passport and basically guarantee my fundamental human rights and the government is yet to return my passport that they seized,” he said.
“We have shown them the court order and government seems not ready to obey the court order,” he said, adding that he could not force himself into boarding the plane, while describing the government’s action as a continuous harassment on his fundamental human right.
Sanusi described the action as shameful since he has not been charged with any crime and has not been indicted of any offence and vowed to return to the court to seek justice.
He added that Nigeria is now a country where a citizen cannot travel simply because somebody from the Presidency says he shouldn’t travel.
Reacting to the claim that the former CBN governor’s passport was seized on the orders of the Presidency, special adviser to the President on media, Dr Reuben Abati, said it is unfair to drag the President into the matter.
He told LEADERSHIP Sunday that “your question is misdirected”, stating that the President has more important state matters to attend to than to be bothered on the movement of the former CBN governor.
He however challenged Sanusi to name the Immigration officer who told him that the passport seizure was as a directive by the Presidency.