- Kano govt denies banishing former emir, says claim of right abuse premature
Omololu Ogunmade, Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
President Muhammadu Buhari wednesday refuted a claim that he was instrumental to the dethronement of former Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, describing such insinuations as untrue, malicious and politically motivated.
Apparently responding to an allegation by a former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, claiming Buhari was behind the dethronement, presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said in a statement in Abuja that the president had a history of not intervening in state affairs unless national security is involved.
The presidential disclaimer coincided with the Kano State government’s clarification that it did not banish Sanusi, saying the claim that his right had been abridged was premature.
Responding to the growing outrage over Sanusi’s banishment, the state’s Attorney General, Mr. Ibrahim Muktar, said the state government was not behind the former emir’s forcible relocation to Nasarawa State.
But the Kano State Commissioner for Police, Mr. Habu Sani Ahmadu, said contrary to the belief in some quarters that the movement of the deposed emir from Kano to Nasarawa State was illegal and infringed on his fundamental human rights, his movement was ‘spelt out.’
However, barely 24 hours after the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, appointed Sanusi into the board of the state’s investment promotion agency, the governor yesterday appointed the dethroned emir as the chancellor of the Kaduna State University.
The presidential statement said Buhari would only dabble into any issue in a state when such a matter borders on national security because he has a responsibility to comply with the law in that regard.
It explained that issues bordering on the appointments and removal of traditional rulers are within the purview of states and hence, linking the president with what happened in Kano was unfair.
“As outlined in the constitution, the appointment or removal of emirs and other traditional leaders is strictly within the jurisdiction of state governments. It is unfair and disingenuous of opposition politicians to try to link the situation in Kano State to the federal government and the Nigerian president.
“Although a retired General and former military head of state, President Buhari clearly understands that under the current democratic dispensation, the government at the center cannot read instructions or twist the arms of all or any of the 36 state governments making up the federation. They all have their powers specified under the constitution,” it said.
Buhari commended the people of Kano State for remaining calm since the dethronement of Sanusi.
He also prayed that God’s will be done at all times in both the emirate and the state.
President behind Sanusi’s Removal, Kwankwaso Alleges
Hours before the president’s rebuttal, Kwankwaso had accused Buhari of being behind the removal of the emir and expressed disaffection with the dethronement.
Kwankwaso, in an interview with BBC Hausa Service, monitored in Kano by THISDAY yesterday, described the removal of the emir as an act of impunity, which is also beyond the powers of the governor alone.
He said the removal of Sanusi was tied to his comments and advice on ways to move the country forward, adding that the Buhari administration was not comfortable with the comments.
He said: “Honestly speaking, what happened on Monday 9th of March 2020 is a sad thing for the entire people of Kano, Nigerians and the entire people of the world because the dethroned emir is a global figure because of the struggles he leads in his entire life, especially when he served as the CBN governor and this job at the Kano Emirate.
“On this day, we have seen very annoying things, especially the way impunity and disregard to the constitution and the laws were employed in dethroning His Highness, the Emir of Kano. We see this action as totally unjust.
“More so, the way we saw the deployment of security agents, it is clear that this is beyond what a state governor alone can do. Despite the intervention of his (Sanusi II) lawyers seeking for him to be allowed to move to Lagos where he chose, he was forcibly put in a plane and taken to the remotest place in the country and after some plea, he was taken to another part of the same Nasarawa State.
“We see this as a violation of the constitution, especially as Nigeria has grown above this. It is especially a violation of Section 35 of the constitution, which emphasises on the rights of the citizen.
“But even as you have chosen to use impunity to dethrone him, I wish to remind you that this is a democratic dispensation and not a military regime.
“Kano State government officials have been saying they were directed to dethrone Emir Sanusi. He (Buhari) instructed them.
“We believe here in Kano that he (Buhari) interferes where he wishes. He doesn’t interfere where his intervention is needed but interferes with issues where he is supposed to be neutral about.”
We Didn’t Banish Sanusi from Kano, Says Kano AG
But the state government denied banishing Sanusi, saying the movement of the former emir from Kano might have been a security decision by the security agencies to secure the peace of the town.
“The decision of the government as stated in the statement of the Secretary to the Government was clear and it was that the former emir had been removed. There was no word “banishment” in the statement,” the state Attorney-General, Muktar, told THISDAY yesterday in a telephone interview.
He said the security agencies might have taken the decision in the interest of Sanusi, explaining that unless the security agencies rendered their security report, it might be premature to conclude that the former emir’s right had been breached.
“This might be a security decision, and until you have the details of the security report, it might be premature to make a claim of right abuse,” he said, adding, “He might have been relocated for his personal safety, safety of his family or that of the public.”
He said it was normal practice for deposed emirs to be moved away to maintain peace in the state, adding that such an action does not contravene the constitution.
The AG explained that Sanusi was not removed because of the corruption probe but because of insubordination.
“The state government has not taken the law into its own hands. Let me explain that the decision to remove the emir from office is administrative and was not based on the issues pending before the court. All the issues pending before the court have nothing to do with the removal of the emir or the dethronement,” he had told Channels Television yesterday.
On whether or not the anti-corruption agency in Kano would continue with Sanusi’s probe, Muktar said: “No decision on that actually.
“I cannot pre-empt the position of the government on whether the investigation will stop or will continue. I cannot say as of now.”
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Garba Mohammed also toed the same line yesterday, saying the tradition was for a deposed emir to go into exile, citing the Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki and Emir Mustapha Jokolo cases.
“I, however, understand that Jokolo has a judgment that is on appeal, which means we have to wait for the outcome of the matter at the Supreme Court for us to make a definitive statement on the position of the law on this matter,” he told THISDAY yesterday, adding: “The Kano State government followed all the processes laid down by the law and tradition.”
He said Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his Nasarawa State counterpart, Mr. Abdullahi Sule, interacted and agreed that Sanusi would be provided an abode that would be conducive enough for him to move on with his life.
However, the state’s anti-corruption agency yesterday said it would continue the investigation into the allegation of corruption against the deposed emir.
The chairman of the commission, Mr. Muhuyi Rimingado, said the investigation was still ongoing.
“Even on Monday, some companies were invited by the commission. But on the deposed emir, the investigation will continue after the court order,” he added.
Magaji said with the deposition of the monarch, the commission would now have what he described as ‘fertile ground’ to carry out its investigation without any interference.
Meanwhile, the Kano State Commissioner for Police, Habu Ahmadu, said yesterday that Sanusi’s freedom was not tampered with as his movement was spelt out.
He stated that counsel to the deposed emir was economical with the truth on what transpired in Kano after the former emir’s deposition.
“The lawyers did not mention everything that happened. They ought to have mentioned what happened, the counsel to the deposed emir. I saw the press conference yesterday. Everything (deposed emir’s movement) was spelt out,” Ahmadu told THISDAY.
On the Kano AG’s position that Sanusi was not banished by the state government, he said he would speak on it after receiving a full briefing on the matter.
“I have not watched the AG’s video. When I do so, I will be able to speak on it,” he said.
Bayero Weeps, Receives Letter of Appointment
Meanwhile, Sanusi’s successor, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, yesterday wept while delivering his address a few minutes after he received the letter of appointment as emir.
In his emotional address, Bayero said his late father, Alhaji Ado Bayero, trained them to always respect leaders, elders, and constitutedl authorities.
Aminu pledged to support Ganduje’s and Buhari’s governments.
The emir said as Muslims, they believe in fate and Allah’s will as He does not make a mistake.
“We also believe that everything has an end. We must recall our late Emir Ado Bayero’s admonition that we keep on believing in God. He also trained us on patience and obedience to elders.
“He assured us that patience leads to success. Now we have seen the lessons taught to us in reality. I urge people to believe in Allah and be our brothers’ keeper in a bid to bring development to the emirate, Kano and Nigeria as a whole,” he said
The emir also thanked the governor and the four kingmakers for the appointment, promising to keep the legacy and history of the two-century-old emirate.
Speaking also, the Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, thanked God for their new positions.
He also thanked Ganduje for what he described as a gift given to him by Allah through the governor, praying for unity among the royal family and the state as a whole.
Ganduje said it was a historic occasion being the first time two brothers would become first-class emirs in the state.
According to him, it is also the first time in the history of Nigeria to create five first-class emirates.
el-Rufai Appoints Sanusi Kaduna Varsity Chancellor
However, within 24 hours after el-Rufai appointed Sanusi into the board of the state’s investment promotion agency, the governor yesterday appointed him as the chancellor of the Kaduna State University.
A statement by el-Rufai’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, said the dethroned emir succeeded the pioneer Chancellor of KASU, His Highness, Malam Tagwai Sambo, the Chief of Moro’a in Southern Kaduna.
It added that the appointment was based on the fact that “In public life, His Highness has demonstrated a strong commitment to education.
“Kaduna State Government has no doubt that as Chancellor, His Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, would provide symbolic and substantive leadership in raising the profile of KASU as an emerging center of learning on the national and global level,” it said.
President, Nasarawa Gov Meet
Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday held a closed-door meeting with the governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule.
Sule arrived at the Presidential Villa about 10 a.m ahead of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.