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ANALYSIS: Who banished Sanusi to Nasarawa?

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Nazifi Dawud & Mukhtar Yahya Usman

A fresh controversy is raging following a claim by Ibrahim Mukhtar, Attorney-General of Kano state and Commissioner for Justice, that the Kano state government did not banish Muhammad Sanusi II, from Kano state after removing him as Emir of Kano.

KANO FOCUS reports that Mr Mukhtar made the claim during a live programme on Channels Television on Wednesday, when he was asked if the decision of the state government to expel Mr Sanusi to Nasarawa state did not violate section 35 of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution, which grants citizens the right to personal liberty.

In response, the attorney-general said:

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“If you listen to the secretary to the state government when he was addressing the press on the issue of the removal of the emir from office, there was nowhere he stated that the emir was banished from Kano State.

“So, the decision of the government when the emir was removed on Monday was that he was removed from office and a new one appointed. The issue of banishment was not part of the decision of the Kano State government.

“We have been hearing from the media that he has been banished but what I know is that he was taken out of Kano State, but banishment was not part of our decision. There is no such decision, to the best of my knowledge.”

Mr Muktar later confirmed to KANO FOCUS that the Kano state government did not authorize the expulsion of Mr Sanusi to Nasarawa state but that security agents decided to take him away for security reasons.

“Section 35 of the Constitution was quoted, where it talked about right to personal liberty. People are saying we breached that law but I said you cannot claim that a law was breached without getting security report on why they took him (Sanusi) to Nasarawa.

“I said it could be for his (Sanusi’s) safety, it is a possibility because I didn’t get the report. It could be for the safety of his family or the security of people in Kano state. So, because there are exceptions in Section 35, you can detain someone and other things and he may end up being the beneficiary.

“But security agents are the ones that can explain this. So, I’m saying it is too early to say that Section 35 was breached,” he said.

‘Kano government has no powers to detain Sanusi’

Mr Mukhtar also told this newspaper that the Kano state government does not have the legal powers to order for the detention of anybody.

“Because Kano state government has no authority to order the detention of someone. That is a decision of the court. Even the federal government cannot do that. But a person can be detained by an order of court.

“So, it is not possible to say that the Kano state government ordered for the detention of the Emir. Only a court can do that and that’s what I said.

“May be, the security agents took a precautionary measure to protect the emir from people who might harm him or members of his family or to prevent breakdown of law and order in Kano state. But I’m not saying this is the case, I’m only saying it is a possibility of (why they took Sanusi away),” he explained.

The contradiction

On 9 March, 2020, Usman Alhaji, secretary to the Kano state government (SSG) announced that Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano had been dethroned and removed from office by the state Executive Council led by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Mr Alhaji, who later released a press statement, said Mr Sanusi was removed due to reasons such as “disrespect to lawful authorities” and ‘refusal to attend programmes and meetings organized by government, which is viewed as an act of insubordination”.

Less than an hour after the formal announcement, an image of the acknowledgement letter sent to Mr Sanusi informing him of his dethronement was leaked on various social media platforms, where it soon went viral.

The first paragraph of the letter, which was signed by Mr Alhaji clearly indicated that it was the Kano state government that directed Emir Sanusi’s “removal, dethronement and relocation to Nasarawa state”.

The letter reads thus:

I wish to inform you that the Kano State Executive Council under the chairmanship of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR, during its sitting on 9th March, 2020/14, Rajab, 1441 A.H has approved and directed for your immediate removal and dethronement as the Emir of Kano, and also for your relocation to Nasarawa state, which is done in line with relevant section of the Kano State Emirate Council Law of 2019. 

2. Kindly note that this decision was taken due to your general disrespect to lawful instructions from the authorities, including persistent refusal to attend programmes and meetings organized by government, which is viewed as an act of insurbordination.

3. In the light of the foregoing and having made appropriate consultations with relevant stakeholder, the decision was reached to safeguard the sanctity, culture, tradition and prestige of the Kano Emirate which was established and sustained over one thousand years ago. 

4. While assuring you that a new Emir of the Kano Emirate Council, will soon be appointed, I implore you, your subjects and surbodinates to remain calm and go about your normal businesses 

5. Accept my warmest regards and best wishes please.”

How Sanusi was taken into custody by police–Emir’s lawyers

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, a team of lawyers to former emir Sanusi led by Abubakar Balarbe Mahmoud, addressed a news conference, in which he narrated how the Emir was informed reportedly by the Kano State Commissioner of Police Habu Sani that he was instructed to transport him to Nasarawa state.

Mr Mahmoud, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) recounted how the Police Commissioner rejected Mr Sanusi’s offer to move to Lagos state in company of his family in a private jet sent by his friends to evacuate them.

The dethroned emir’s lawyer narrated what happened thus:

Since the deposition was announced, I was at the Palace yesterday (Monday 9 March, 2020) afternoon in the company of one of my colleagues to consult with the Emir. We met him in good spirit in company of his family and a few associates.

“He said to us that he was waiting for the deposition letter from the Government House and was informed that the Commissioner of Police was on his way along with certain government officials. While waiting there was commotion in the private wing the palace as some unauthorized persons tried to gain entry into the family section.

“This led to some scuffle and teargas were fired by the security operatives. Normalcy was restored after the unauthorized persons along with armed security operatives retreated from the inner part of the palace.

“I subsequently, along with my colleagues was able to meet with the Commissioner of Police and other security operatives and with the permission of the emir, they were led to one his sitting rooms where the deposition letter was served on him by an agent of the State Government.

“The Emir accepted the letter and decided to acknowledge it personally after writing some Quranic Verses in the Arabic script along with his signature. This was handed over the government official. In the letter of deposition, it was stated that the Emir was to be removed to Nassarawa 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 violation of his constitutional rights to remove to Nassarawa 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 that he could leave.

“The Commissioner refused saying that was not their instruction. They were willing to allow the family to leave for Lagos but he was to be flown to Abuja then onwards taken to Nassarawa State. It was clear to us that both the Emir and ourselves were helpless and the police and other security agents were willing to take any measure and use force to achieve their objective.

“In order not to jeopardize the Emir’s safety or the safety of any member of his family or indeed other persons around, the Emir decided to cooperate and proceed in the vehicles provided by the operatives.

“We accompanied the Commissioner of Police to the Nigerian Airforce base in Kano where the Emir was put a private aircraft and departed at about 6.40pm. The family subsequently boarded the aircraft arranged by his friends and departed for Lagos about 15 minutes later.”

Mr Mahmoud then issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Mr Ganduje to release his client, the dethroned emir from “illegal detention” or face legal action.

The lawyer explained that the emir, through his chief of staff Munir Sunusi had ordered them to challenge the legality of his detention and banishment, adding that the action by the state government is illegal and unconstitutional.

He said the basis of the denial of personal liberty are set out clearly in the relevant sections of the Nigerian constitution.

“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.

“We are totally perplexed at 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 of Kebbi state vs HRH Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo and ors 2013 where the court pronounced it illegal and unconstitutional and gross violation of the right of the emir,” Mr Mahmud said.

“We are concerned about the personal safety and security of HH Muhammdu Sanusi II and wish to call on all well-meaning Nigerians and the International Community to bring their influence to bear to ensure that HH Muhammadu Sanusi regains his liberty immediately and to guaranty his safety and security,” he added.

Therefore, Mr Sanusi’s lawyers called on the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS) and Attorney-General of the federation to ensure the immediate release of the emir so that he can re-unite with his family.

Police keep mum

KANO FOCUS had tried to get the comments of the Kano State Police Command, but the state Commissioner of Police (CP) Habu Sani Ahmadu, did not respond to a phone call and neither replied to a text message sent to him.

What lawyers say on banishment of deposed emirs

Several legal experts and human rights groups have condemned the banishment of ex-Emir Sanusi to Nasarawa state after his removal from office, describing the action as illegal and unconstitutional.

Barrister Bulama Bukarti, a famous human rights lawyer has argued that “banishment is a barbaric customary practice that was reinforced by British imperialists who did all they could to humiliate and bully anyone that disagreed with them.”

“The constitutionality of banishment & incarceration of removed emirs has been settled by the Court of Appeal in 2013 in the case of deposed Emir Jokolo of Gwandu. The Court held that the practice contravenes Sections 34 & 41 of the 1999 Constitution and thus illegal, null & void.

“The Court held that a dethroned emir has the right to reside anywhere and move freely in Nigeria and around the world. It said to allow a Governor to control the life and movement of a removed emir is akin to making the emir a slave of the Emir and slavery is unconstitutional,” Mr Bukarti wrote on his Facebook wall. 

Similarly, Auwal Musa Rafasanjani, Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), averred that banishment of a deposed emir contravenes several sections of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution.

“The imposed banishment of the dethroned emir to Loko Local Government, Nassarawa state, (is) nothing but clear infringement of the fundamental rights as guaranteed under Sections 34, 35, 36, 40 and most especially section 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, which safeguards the right of every citizen of Nigeria to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof.

“We vehemently and categorically uphold our position on citizens’ right to freedom of expression and movement as guaranteed under Section 39 and 41 of the Constitution. There is no justification for the humiliation, inhumane and degrading treatments as imposed on Sanusi upon his banishment.

“Just as the pronounced banishment by the State Government contravenes Section 35 of the Constitution which safeguards every person’s right to his/her personal liberty, stating that no person should be deprived of such liberty except in circumstances set out in Subsection 35(a-f), given the procedure permitted by law as none of such procedure is followed in the instance case.

“We are amused at the open-display of rascality and disproportionate deployment of some government mercenaries including police force and other security institutions to amplify tussles, public harassment, extrajudicial implementation of imposition of restriction of movement and personal liberty of the dethroned monarch without iota of respect to the rule of laws and various Constitutional provisions.

“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sincerely and constructively intervene by upholding the Constitutional provisions to ensure that the rule of laws is adhered to and the dethroned Sanusi enjoys all his rights and freedom of movement, as clear demonstration for leadership, respect for civility, democratic core values and the Constitution,” Mr Rafsanjani said in a statement.

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Kano Emir to head community policing advisory committee

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Aminu Ado Bayero

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has appointed the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero as head of a community policing advisory committee.

KANO FOCUS reports that Mr Bayero is expected to work together with a deputy commissioner of police, Balarabe Sule, who is also the chairman of a second committee–the State Community Policing Community–to enhance security in the state.

Mr Ganduje inaugurated the two committees at the Government House, Kano on Friday.

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“The committee will be giving advice on how to come about the issue of security in the state,” the governor said, referring to the emir’s team.

Mr Ganduje said there is need for communities to be engaged in the fight against crime.

“We urge people to cooperate with the security agencies in providing them with useful information. Because it is the people of the community who know criminals among them,” he added.

In his remarks the Inspector General of Police, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General, (DIG) Andul Dahiru Danwawu commended Mr Ganduje for his efforts on security in the state.

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Ganduje’s 2nd term worst in Kano history – Opposition

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Ganduje Oathtaking

Abubakar Dangambo and Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje’s second term is the worst in history according to the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, a charge that the government has dismissed.

Former PDP chairman and Kwankwasiyya stalwart Umar Haruna Doguwa made the accusation in an interview with Kano Focus marking the first anniversary of Mr Ganduje’s second term.

Mr Doguwa said Ganduje’s administration has not introduced a single new project within the year under review.

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“In terms of infrastructure I have not seen anywhere within one year where one block of new project was put. Just check. New project? This year? No.”

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Mr Doguwa also accused the Ganduje administration of destroying both the traditional and religious heritages of Kano state within the year.

“Kano traditional institution is known far and even beyond Africa. But it was destroyed by only one person for his selfish desire.

“I am referring to the balkanisation of Kano emirate and subsequent dethronement of Emir Muhammad Sanusi ll. This cannot be forgotten.

“Secondly, take Kano as the centre of commerce and religious learning.

“Even in that learning, there was no time in the history of Kano when system of Islamic learning was worst hit, like this one year of Ganduje administration.

“You know the issue of Almajirai which was supposed to be modernised, but destroyed by this administration.

“The worst is branding a particular group of Ulama as anti-government.

These two actions have direct consequences on government progress,” Mr Doguwa said.

Free or Borrowed Education?

The opposition politician also faulted the implementation of free and compulsory education policy by the Ganduje administration.

He accused Mr Ganduje of excluding tertiary students from the program’s beneficiaries as he claimed was the case during the Kwankwaso administration.

“It should also be on record that total free education being operated by Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was given free of charge, without any foreign or local loan from anywhere.

“The so-called free education being operated by governor Ganduje is for a cost.

“Though it is partly funded by some donors, I learnt that he has collected N15 billion loan, for what?” Mr Doguwa said.

He also criticised the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Ganduje administration.

“The way it was handled was nothing to write home about.

“Poor people were put in lockdown without palliatives.

“Even in the steering committee you put children you loved against professionalism. People were not fully sensitised.

“Look, the governor made a pronouncement that the government will give palliatives to 500,000 people of Kano out of about 20 million population.

“Even at that, the governor later said they are starting with 50,000 people, where only four people were selected from each political ward. It is just a sham, and it will not solve the problem.” Mr Doguwa said.

Our government has done well

However, Kano state commissioner for youths and sports, Kabiru Ado Lakwaya dismissed the allegations as mere ranting by the opposition.

Mr Lakwaya told Kano Focus that despite challenges, the government has achieved huge successes in the areas of education, health, economy, youths, transportation and infrastructure.

He said Mr Ganduje is championing the integration of Almajiri into the formal education sector.

“The policy on Almajiri repatriation will continue as it sees the move an opportunity to make life better for them as citizens.

“It is a collective effort by northern governors to tackle insecurity in the region.” He said.

The commissioner also said contrary to claims by the opposition of lapses in the handling of Covid 19 pandemic, Mr Ganduje was the first governor in Nigeria to set up an isolation centre even before the virus reached Kano.

“He imposed movement restrictions and banned inter-states movement all in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus in Kano.” Mr Lakwaya said.

He also dismissed allegations that the government’s only achievement was the balkanization of the Kano Emirate.

“Even the opposition are now happy with the creation of the new Emirates as it helps in developing their communities.

Much needs to be done

Meanwhile, a political analyst, Kabiru Sufi said Mr Ganduje’s second term has achieved a pass mark in the education sector.

Mr Sufi, who holds a PhD in Political Science, told Kano Focus that the government needs to double its efforts to fulfil its promises in education.

“A special launch was made a bill has been taken to the state assembly to secure funds for the program.”

“Launching the program is not enough, as more need to be done, government should redouble effort to actualize the projects, but fairly speaking, government needs to do more.” Mr Sufi said.

The political scientist said the government has also recorded success in infrastructural development though most of the projects are still under construction.

He however argued that critical sectors like agriculture and water supply were not given deserve priority yet, and water supply continues to remain major problem for Kano residents.

Mr Sufi said the government has failed to fulfil its promise of establishing a world class cancer centre though it has launched the project.

He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many problems in the health sector which need serious attention.

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Pantami not responsible for NIDCOM’s withdrawal from office complex–NCC

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has, again, clarified that the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, was never involved in the process of offer of office allocation to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) at the NCC’s Communications and Digital Economy Complex located at Mbora District, Abuja, as the public is being made to believe.

The Commission reiterated this position in a press statement signed by its Director Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, in which it made further clarifications to the members of public and other stakeholders on the situation.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, was never involved in the offer to the office space, nor in the withdrawal of the offer for same office space. the Minister should not, therefore, be brought into the issue,” he said.

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According to Dr. Nkemadu, the decision to withdraw the offer of office space from NiDCOM was purely of the NCC, the custodian of the office complex.

“It should, however, be made abundantly clear that the withdrawal of the offer of the office space, which was unconditionally given, in the first instance, to NiDCOM, was informed by exigencies and change in priorities within the NCC, which led to the taking back of the office space earlier allocated with intention of finding a suitable replacement for NiDCOM,” he said.

The Commission, therefore, reiterates its confidence in the leadership, person and office of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

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