Sunday, 23 June 2024 04:49

Kano emirate tussle gets messier as parties take ‘convenient’ stands on court orders

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The details of the judgement of the Federal High Court of Thursday have confirmed that the court nullified the reappointment of Lamido Sanusi as Emir of Kano but refused to rule on the validity of the Kano Emirate Council (Repeal) Law, 2024.

The judgement specifically said “every step taken by the defendants in pursuance to the Kano State Emirate Council (Repeal) Law, 2024 are hereby annulled and set aside.

The said law repealed the Kano State Emirate Council Law 2019, which created four new emirates of Bichi, Rano, Gaya and Karaye in addition to the Kano Emirate.

Governor Abba Yusuf signed the new law on 23 May and removed all the five emirs appointed under the old law, including Aminu Ado-Bayero of Kano.

A day later, the governor reinstated Sanusi as the sole emir of the state.

But that was before a title holder in Kano emirate, Aminu Dan’agundi, filed a suit at the Federal High Court to challenge the new law.

Dan’agundi also applied to the court to restrain the Kano State Government; the State House of Assembly and its speaker; the Attorney-General of the state; the Commissioner of Police, the Inspector-General of Police; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; and the State Security Service (SSS) from implementing the law until his case has been determined.

On 23 May, the judge, Abdullahi Liman, granted the application and ordered the state government and the other parties involved to stop the implementation of the new emirate law pending the hearing of the substantive case.

However, the five emir’s have been stripped of their roles, including Ado-Bayero who has relocated to the mini palace in Kano and defied the directives of the state government and state high court that he should cease parading himself as the emir.

When the federal court next heard the matter on 20 June, the judge chided the governor for reinstating Sanusi, saying the action was in disrespect of his court’s order for a freeze of actions on the new law.

The judge said despite being served with the court order, the state government went ahead to appoint Sanusi as the 16 Emir of Kano on 24 May.

“Every step taken by the defendants in pursuance to the Kano State Emirate Council (Repeal) Law, 2024 is hereby annulled and set aside.

“That, however, this order doesn’t affect the validity of the Kano State Emirate Council (Repeal) Law, 2024 which is the subject of the substantive suit.

“That the order sought by the plaintiff, which extends to the validity of the Kano Emirate Council (Repeal) Law, 2024 which is the subject matter of the substantive suit, is hereby refused.

“That the earlier order directing parties to maintain status quo ante still stands,” the judge said in the certified true copy of the ruling released on Friday.

However, the state government has said the emir was reinstated four days before it was served with the court order on 27 May and has interpreted the status quo to mean the state of events before the court granted the interim judgement.

But Mamman Yusufari, a senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), insisted that the ruling of the court on Thursday invalidated Sanusi’s reinstatement.

Yusufari, a professor of law, said on a radio programme, ‘Rigar Kaya’ anchored by Yakubu Musa-Fagge, that the ruling also voided all actions taken by the governor, including the signing of the new emirate council law.

“The governor appointed Sanusi after the court order. The court gave the order on 23 May and the governor reappointed Sanusi on 24 May,” Yusufari said.

He said the governor was aware of the court order because he protested against the order being served virtually, stating that the judge, Liman, issued it from the United States of America.

“The judge described the governor’s action as disrespectful and cannot be tolerated in a country with law and order because nobody is above the law. In the eyes of the law, the appointment of Sanusi didn’t exist because it was conducted in disregard to the law of the land.

“The judge was silent on the validity or otherwise of the Kano Emirate Council (Repeal) Law 2024 but said all other action taken by the governor before the court order is null and void, which includes the signing of the law by the governor, meaning that the Kano Emirate Council (Repeal) Law 2024, is still a bill, not a law.

“With this, all the five Kano emirate councils are still in force because there is no law in place that removed them. The appointment of Sanusi as the 16th Emir of Kano is illegal, with this, all parties in the crisis are maintaining the status quo as directed by the court.

“The substantive case will continue at the high court if the appeal court rules on the jurisdiction suit in favour of the applicant, but if it ruled against, the case will definitely reach the Supreme Court because I doubt if any of the contenders will surrender at the appeal court,” Yusufari stated on the radio programme.

Meanwhile, Liman has transferred the case to another judge, Simon Amobeda, due to his elevation to the Court of Appeal.

On Friday, Amobeda halted the hearing of the substantive suit following an appeal by the state government challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain chieftaincy matters.




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