Counter-accusations as controversy continue to trail Sanusi’s removal

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By Moses Adeniyi

Accusations and counter-accusations have continued to trail the dethronement and banishment of Mallam Lamido Sanusi as the 14th Emir of Kano, barely a week after. While the deposed Emir have been pointing his fingers to those he believes are instrumental to his plight, some of the accused have been wading off the fingers to justify themselves. However,  while Sanusi have accepted his dethronement in good fate, he would not accept his banishment without a challenge.

Sanusi to Kano Government

In the line of reacts trailing his dethronement, Sanusi has slammed the Kano State Government, describing as ‘badly’, the manner in which his deposition letter was composed.

Sanusi who said this on Saturday in a 45-second video clip that went viral on

social media, stated that going by the way in which the letter was written, it was not difficult for him to challenge his removal in court.

Criticising the State government for not giving him fair hearing prior to his dethronement, Sanusi however said he was going to move on and do not want to return as Emir, saying he did all he could while he was the Emir of Kano for six years.

In the 45-second video clip Sanusi had said: “I have done what I could in six years; I’m moving on. I don’t want to go back. The truth is, if I had wanted to go back, the dethronement letter was

so badly written, it was not done professionally. The easiest thing is just to go to court.”

“It’s simple; fair hearing. ’Did you query him (Sanusi)? Did you ask him to defend himself? Did you even call him to ask him any question?’ No! That’s all, but I think we should go on to a new phase in life.”

It would be recalled that justifying the dethronement of the 58-year-old who once headed the Central Bank of Nigeria for five years, the State Government in a statement read by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Alhaji Usman Alhaji, stated that the Emir was dethroned for “total disrespect to lawful instructions from the office of the State Governor and other lawful authorities, including his persistent refusal to attend official meetings and programmes organised by the government without any lawful justification which amount to total insubordination.”

The SSG further had alleged that Sanusi breached Part 3 Section 13 (a-e) of the Kano State Emirate Law 2019, stressing that if left unchecked, the deposed Emir would “destroy the good and established image of the Kano Emirate.”

The statement added: “This removal is made after due consultations with the relevant-stakeholders and in compliance with Part 3-Section 13 of the Kano State Emirate Law 2019 and other reasons stated above.

“This removal was reached in order to safeguard the sanctity, culture, tradition,

religion and prestige of the Kano Emirate built over a thousand years.”

Recall that barely six hours after Sanusi’s deposition, the State government had announced a new Emir, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, a son of the 13th Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, who died in 2014.

The SSG had said Aminu Ado Bayero’s appointment as the 15th Emir followed the recommendation received by Ganduje from the kingmakers. The new Emir is also reported to be from the same Fulani dynasty as Sanusi.

Meanwhile, after his dethronement, Sanusi was reportedly driven to the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, from where he was taken to Nasarawa State, where he was banished to by the State Government.

It was reported the deposed Emir was first taken to Loko, and then to Awe, both in Nasarawa State. However, the former Emir’s lawyers on Friday secured a court order granting him freedom from illegal detention.

Sanusi challenging AGF, DSS, Police over banishment

Meanwhile on Friday, Sanusi who alleged he was denied fair hearing in

the process leading to his deposition, claimed the order of his arrest and banishment from Kano and subsequent detention in Awe, Nasarawa State, came from Abuja.

Accusing the Attorney General of Kano State, Ibrahim Muktar, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), Sanusi claimed that they instructed the Department of State Services and Police to detain him, stressing that he was harassed and rushed out of the palace without being allowed to pick up his personal belongings.

He said upon his dethronement, an unnamed friend of his sent an aircraft to Kano to convey him and his family to Lagos but contrarily, the Kano State Commissioner of Police ordered him to be flown to Abuja in another aircraft without his family members.

Sanusi had stated these in the suit he filed to challenge his detention and confinement in Awe. Sanusi had said that though his dethronement as Emir of Kano is unjustifiable, he won’t take legal action against the Kano State Government to challenge his removal.

Granting an interim order for his release, a Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Anwuli Chikere, on Friday,  made the interim order after Sanusi’s Lawyer, Chief, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), moved an ex-parte application earlier filed along with the main suit.

Fagbemi had urged the court to restore  Sanusi’s rights to human dignity, personal liberty, freedom of association and movement in Nigeria.

He applied that his client be freed from the detention and allowed to move about in Nigeria apart from Kano in the interim, noting that his client had not been charged with any criminal offence to warrant his detention.

Justice Chikere granted the application, saying, “An interim order is hereby made releasing the applicant from the detention and or confinement of the respondents and restoring the applicant’ s rights to human dignity, personal liberty, freedom of association and movement in Nigeria, (apart from Kano State)-pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s originating summons.”

The respondents to which the court order was directed are, the Inspector- General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi; Muktar; and Malami. The Judge adjourned till March 26 for the hearing of the main suit with the response of the Defendants.

In his suit, Sanusi said he “is being subjected to inhumane treatment and discrimination of all sorts.”

He said this through his Chief of Staff (when he was emir), Da Buram Kano, who deposed to the affidavit filed in support of the suit on his behalf.

The affidavit stated in part: “I verily believe the state government purportedly removed the applicant from office as the Emir Kano on March 9, 2020 without any basis or justification whatsoever and was not given any hearing on any allegation on which his removal was predicated.

“The applicant is, however, not challenging his removal as Emir of Kano in this suit.”

 

AGF denies involvement in Sanusi’s dethronement, banishment

Following accusations over Sanusi’s dethronement and banishment, the AGF in a short statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, on Sunday, said he “was not in any way connected

with the dethronement of the former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II and his subsequent banishment to Nassarawa State.”

The statement reads further: “The issue of who does what over the dethronement saga has been effectively asubmitted for judicial determination. The matter is consequently sub judice.

“Attorney – General of the Federation and Minister of Justice will not comment one way or the other over a matter that is pending before the court.”

Grounds of Sanusi’s legal contest

It would be recalled that earlier on Tuesday, the Leader of Sanusi’s legal team, Abubakar Mahmud, SAN, who noted that Sanusi’s removal was illegal, had stated thus: ‘’This action in our view is illegal and unconstitutional.

“The Kano State Emirate Council Law which was recently enacted by the government of Kano State does not give the State Executive Council or the governor of Kano State the powers to unilaterally remove the emir.

‘’The reason given in the letter of deposition of the Emir, dated March 9, 2020, was alleged ‘disrespect to lawful

instructions from the authorities’. The Emir was also alleged to have ‘refused to attend official programmes and meetings organized by the government.

‘’As far as we are aware, there has not been any notice of such disrespect ever given to the Emir or query issued to

him for refusal to attend official functions. He was never given any opportunity to defend himself against those charges.

‘’Section 13 of the Kano Emirates Council Law 2019 cited in the letter of deposition empowers the governor to depose an Emir only after due inquiry and in consultation with State Council of Chiefs.

‘’We are not aware of such due inquiry nor are we aware that the Kano State Council of Chiefs was at any time summoned to any meeting much less discuss the removal of the Emir or give any advice to the governor on the deposition.

‘’Muhammadu Sanusi II was the Chairman of the Council and if such meeting was summoned, he would have been aware. He would have informed us. In our view, the action was patently illegal and unconstitutional and a clear abuse of power.

‘’Be that as it may, the decision to challenge the removal is solely that of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II.

‘’In the letter of deposition, it was stated that the Emir was to be removed to Nasarawa State. We requested to know if he was under arrest and if so we needed to see the warrant. The Commissioner of Police informed us that he was not under arrest.

‘’We informed the Commissioner of Police that was illegal and a violation of his constitutional rights to move him to Nasarawa State against his wish. The Emir informed the Commissioner of Police that his friends had sent an aircraft to fly him and his family to Lagos and requested that they should be provided with necessary security to the airport so he could leave.

“According to instructions we received from the Emir through his Chief of Staff, we are directed to take legal action to challenge the legality of the Emir’s detention and banishment.

‘’We are of the firm view that this action is illegal and unconstitutional. Section 35 of our constitution guarantees every citizen the right to personal liberty.

“The basis of the denial of personal liberty are set out clearly in this Section of the Constitution. None applies to the case of the Emir.

‘’The archaic practice of banishment of deposed Emirs, a colonial practice, has no basis under Nigerian law or the Constitution. We are totally perplexed at the resort to this practice in present day Nigeria by its political leaders.

‘’The illegality of this practice was pronounced by the Nigerian Court of Appeal in Attorney General Kebbi State v. HRH Alhaji Al Mustapha Jakolo and others 2013 LPELR 22349/CA where the Court pronounced it as illegal and unconstitutional and gross violation of the rights of the Emir.”