Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reciprocate its gesture of the donation of N10 billion made to Othman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto to each of the federal universities as an intervention fund.
Falana noted that the funding of the Othman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto to the tune donated N10 billion should also be extended to other universities to ensure equity and avoid discrimination or favouratism.
But the astute lawyer had previously condemned the donations by the Governor of the apex bank Sanusi Lamido of N4 billion to Bayero University, Kano (BUK) and several millions of Naira to the University of Benin (UNIBEN) and some other universities which had awarded him (Sanusi) doctorate degrees.
He declare the acts including alleged donation of N135 million to preferred victims of terrorist attacks in two northern states: Kano and Niger states as unconstitutional spending.
In a statement in Lagos, Falana said each of the public universities is entitled to equal treatment by the Federal Government and all its agencies, including CBN as part of the enforcement of equality before the law.
“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 University, the CBN should, as a matter of urgency, provide an intervention fund of the same amount to each of the other public universities without delay.
“As neither the President nor any other public officer is empowered to disburse funds without appropriation, the CBN governor (Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi) should be restrained from further engaging in impunity.”
Falana also accused the regulatory bank of operating outside the authority of the bank and provisions of the Appropriation Act, “in addition to usurping the statutory duties of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the National Universities Commission (NUC) among others”.
The activist lawyer claimed that he has been calling the Federal Government to order over time on the issue of the illegality of allowing the CBN governor to use the apex bank as a charitable institution over two years ago.
“Such extra budgetary donation of billions of naira to selected bodies and individuals by the CBN have dangerous implications for the neo-colonial economy”, Falana pointed out.
He also said that 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”.