From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
The Legal Team of the deposed Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi 11, on Tuesday threatened to approach the Court within 24 hours if security agencies failed to guarantee his freedom and reunion with his family.
Though they described the dethronement of Mr. Muhammad Sanusi 11 as “illegal” they said they have not received any directive from their client to challenge it in court, but passionately called for his freedom and guarantee of his safety.
Leader of the Legal Team, Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, while addressing journalists in his ofgice, described the action of Kano state government as, “illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.”
According to him, “we call on the authorities, in particular, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of Department State Services and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to ensure the immediate release of HH Muhammadu Sanusi 11 so that he can be reunited with his family.
” We are concerned about the personal safety and security of HH Muhammadu Sanusi 11 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 guarantee his safety and security.”
He added that, “I thank you for coming to our offices this afternoon for the purpose of this press briefing on behalf of our client Muhammadu Sanusi II who was yesterday morning, the 9th day of March 2020 deposed as Emir of Kano by the Governor of Kano State Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who claimed to have acted on a resolution of the Kano State Executive Council.
“This action is 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 9th March, 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 querry 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 advise 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. At this moment no such instruction has been given to us.”
Mahmoud noted that, “we have not spoken to the Emir since yesterday but we understand they are at their destination somewhere in a remote part of Nassarawa State after driving for nearly seven hours in the night and arrived at about 2.00 am this morning. We understand the choice of location to detain HH Muhammadu Sanusi II was intended to cause maximum trauma and distress. This again is illegal and unconstitutional.
“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 Emirs 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 ors 2013 LPELR 22349/CA where the Court pronounced it as illegal and unconstitutional and gross violation of the rights of the Emir.
” This is what the court said in that case: The banishment and deportation from Kebbi State by the Governor of Kebbi State….of the first respondent to Lafia in Nassarawa State and later to Obi also in Nassarawa State is most unconstitutional and illegal.”
He said, “the legal team of HH are working both in Kano and Abuja and unless he is released immediately, we will be taking appropriate legal action.”