Ousted Nigerian central bank chief says passport seized

Ousted Nigerian central bank chief says passport seized

KANO, Nigeria - Nigeria's ousted central bank governor Lamido Sanusi said on Sunday that secret police had seized his passport as he tried to board a flight to France, despite a court ruling that an earlier seizure was illegal.

"It is my personal passport (that was impounded) because my diplomatic passport has never been returned to me since the SSS seized it in February," Sanusi told journalists at the airport.

Sanusi was suspended on February 20, less than four months before his term was set to expire, after accusing the powerful state oil firm of stealing nearly $20 billion (14.4 billion euros) of public funds.

His diplomatic passport was then seized by intelligence agents, but a court later ruled that they had broken the law and ordered it to be returned immediately.

Sanusi said he was told that his personal passport had been seized by State Security Services (SSS) as he was waiting in the departure lounge of the Malam Aminu Kano airport in the northern city of Kano at close to midnight on Saturday.

The 52-year-old said he was on his way to France for a short course, and had then intended to travel to Saudi on a pilgrimage.

"I showed the court order to the SSS personnel that seized my passport, but they said they have their orders from the presidency to seize my passport," Sanusi said.

Officials of the SSS were not available to comment.

 

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