Published March 13th, 2012
Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi the Governor of the Central Bank of
Nigeria, recently made N100 million cash donation on behalf of the Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to victims of bomb blasts in Kano, his native home. Amid
heavy critique of being partial to Kano, his native home, he donates N25m to the
Madalla blast victims in the Niger State bomb explosion.
Now the psychology of his judgment and decisions on this issue is being
questioned in regards to the sensibility, legality or ethics for such good
gesture, and is the wrongness in this case due to some personal ethical ‘code’.
Does the Presidency through the National Assembly has a laid down system for
approving federal funds for any sort of relief, including that of terrorism
offset or relief?
What now appears as a tragedy of good intentions could understandably be
corrected with effective ethical rules as operative instruments for
self-regulation with public agencies.
When there is a crisis of standards like the Sanusi ethics complaints there is
need to understand the details in political and official contributions,
donations, and other aids.
As an executive if Sanusi was going to make his personal contribution the
general rule for executive branch officials in Presidential type governments,
globally, is a gift of about $20 in cash or something a little bit more. This
ethics or rules usually apply to government officials like Sanusi and not to
And if the special help is part of an agency’s Corporate Social Responsibility
it must be guided by the legislature in terms of a code of ethics as it relates
to given, donating, or transferring money as a loan, grant, or donation from
public fund for assistance sake.
In other words, the public policy for CBN’s Corporate Social Responsibility with
the help of the Bank’s Chief Ethics Officer if there is any or with the
assistance of the Bank’s Office of Ethics and Professional Conduct should
clearly show how public or official funds are donated for emergency, social, or
If not issues of unevenness, discrimination and insensitivity in terms of
fulfilling these responsibilities could be raised by good faith persons or the
The initial reported N100 million cash donation by Sanusi Lamido while it looks
small in the eyes of the government, it is a huge money in terms of the ethics,
motive, or authority involved, as the announcement did not show that the
authorization came from the President with the direct blessings of the
legislature as it is in presidential or executive type democracies..
Also, do we really have the statistics and the objective number of the Kano/madalla
victims of Boko Haram violence who will get this money? If yes, do we have the
precedent for such official contribution from the CBN to other State governments
with victims of insurgent violence? Now that the National Assembly is looking at
this unusual issues, when will the public know fully how donations for victims
relief should be authorized and what mechanisms are in place to make sure that
such money is not abused, and it is smoothly disbursed to the real victims? And
at what stage does a State government meet the standards for a particular
Sanusi’s supposed good act appeared to look unacceptable in the eyes of ethical
conduct as it may lack legal precedence and it came out with unequal
compensation and commitments to many other States with similar challenges and
Even if this public fund was not the solo decision of the CBN Governor and that
he may have received the blessing of the federal government the action is still
out of line with standard democratic practice, as it the President and the
National Assembly that would have publicly used the CBN as its representative to
hand out the money from the national treasury.
Why this is important is that any time in the future which include tomorrow any
head to an executive or governmental body could wake up from bed with his wife,
simply bypass the National Assembly or the President as well as the Executive
Council of the Federation, and on the basis that the affected region or State is
his or her own native place ‘dish’ out N100 million cash or more in a free
At a time when monetary, ethnic and religious tension appears to be very high
and everywhere in the nation, this type of narrow judgment could further soil
our relationships and make the administration look more silly in the eyes of the
people and the international world.
Now it is up to the CBN and other major government bodies, or the Federal
Government as a whole to inform and educate the nation on the ethics and law
guiding public donation, relief fund and victim compensation.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the
Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association (NPA), Abuja.