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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:

“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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Gov. Abba Kabir Urges Security Agencies to Quell Thuggery in Kano

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Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has beseeched security agencies operating within the state to promptly bring an end to Thuggery and other malevolent activities that are disrupting peace in specific areas of the Kano metropolis.

The Governor gives this directives at the commencement of the 15th weekly meeting of the Kano State Executive Council held at the Government House.

This was contained in a statement issued by the governor’s spokesperson, Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, on Saturday.

Governor Abba Kabir expressed disapproval of the recent upsurge in Thuggery and clashes involving Yan daba, affirming that the government will not passively observe while unscrupulous elements endanger the relative tranquility and harmony enjoyed by the law-abiding citizens of the state.

He reiterated that under his administration, the state government is diligently collaborating with relevant security agencies to ensure the safety and security of the populace and their possessions at all times.

Furthermore, Governor Abba Kabir cautioned Judges against the unwarranted release of thugs, emphasizing the threat they pose to the welfare of the state’s residents and stressing the importance of prompt and equitable dispensation of justice.

Alhaji Abba Kabir also instructed security agencies to strictly adhere to their mandated duty of safeguarding the lives and properties of the citizens they serve, warning against involvement in matters beyond their designated responsibilities.

He implored the populace in the state to continue with their lawful pursuits, assuring that the government will persevere in its commitment to ensuring their protection, and requested ongoing support and cooperation for the current administration.

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Emirate Tussle: Prof. Yadudu Faults Justice Liman’s Ruling, Says Judgement not Helpful For The Judicial Process

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Reacting to the ruling, renowned constitutional lawyer, Professor Auwalu Yadudu, told Daily Trust that the judge’s pronouncements were strange and baffling by approbating and reprobating in the same breath.

He said the development was not helpful for the judicial process, stressing that the judge assuming jurisdiction on the fundamental human rights aspect and refusing the same on the validity of the substance of the case–the Kano emirates law–has “muddled up the case, and it is very unbecoming of a judge who has now been elevated to the Court of Appeal”.

Professor Yadudu clarified that while he was not accusing the judge of any impropriety, the pronouncements were unbecoming. “How can you say the actions taken in pursuant of a law are set aside, and then say you are not delving into the validity of the said law?” he queried.
Prof. Yadudu said further that the judge had more or less held that he lacked jurisdiction on the issue by transferring the case to another judge, but still went ahead to set aside the governor’s actions.

He said that the ex-parte order should no longer be of any currency because it is being challenged at the Appeal Court, and the judge himself admitted knowledge of this by granting a stay of proceedings and also deciding not to grant an order to nullify the law.

“All these are avoidable. It is not helpful for the judicial process. It is strange and doesn’t speak well of the judge. The question of whether the governor’s actions came before and after the exparte order is a question of fact or evidence. It seems from the record that the order came after,” he said.

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Governing council: ASUU BUK rejects Gawuna’s appointment, favours Udoma’s return

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Bayero University Kano, BUK chapter during the weekend rejected the appointment of Kano top flight politician, Dr Nasiru Gawuna into the Governing Council of the second generation tertiary Institution.

 

KANO FOCUS reports that the Chairperson, Prof. Ibrahim Tajo Suraj said that the process that led to the appointment of politicians into the Governing Council of the nation’s citadel of learning contravened the relevant laws that guided such appointment.

 

Addressing newsmen in its secretariat, Comrade Siraj explained that “I must admit that we are not happy over the decision of the federal government to appoint hard core politicians into the Governing Council.

 

Prof. Siraj stressed that “the criteria for such appointments is explicitly clear, as it favoured the appointment of technocrats, academic to the Council”.

 

The Chairperson maintained that the sack of former Council with a constitutional mandate of

4 years tenure, after one year in office was a rape on the rule of law.

 

He therefore called on the federal government to reinstate Senator Udo Udoma led Governing Council to complete their term in the interests of the rule of law

 

Siraj stressed that “the scenario is just like sacking an executive governor of a state after just one in office, and you went ahead to assume that all is normal, no, this is rape on the rule of law.”

 

Ibrahim Tajo Suraj, earlier had led (ASUU), Bayero University Kano branch, on a peaceful protest on Friday demanding the federal government to pay their entitlements and implement the 2009 ASUU/FG Agreement.

 

Prof. Ibrahim Tajo Suraj, said the action was in compliance with the directive by the national body to all its branches to organize protests within their campuses on account of the federal government’s failure to pay their entitlements.

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