Lamido Sanusi says his dethronement as Emir of Kano is unjustifiable but won’t take legal action against the Kano State Government.
The former Central Bank Governor, who has had a frosty relationship with Governor Umar Ganduje since 2017, was sent packing by the state government on Monday for “total disrespect for lawful instructions from the office of the state government”.
Specifically, the Kano State Government dethroned Sanusi, the 14th Emir of Kano, following an approval by the state executive council.
It also cited Sanusi’s alleged refusal to attend official meetings and programmes organised by the government without any lawful justification, which it said amounted to total insubordination.
Sanusi, who said he was denied fair hearing in the process leading to his deposition, claimed his arrest order, banishment from Kano and subsequent detention in Awe, Nasarawa State, came from Abuja.
He claimed the Attorney General of Kano State, Ibrahim Muktar, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), instructed the Department of State Services and police to detain him.
Sanusi said he was harassed and rushed out of the palace without being allowed to pick up his personal belongings.
He said upon his dethronement, an unnamed friend of his sent an aircraft to Kano to convey him and his family to Lagos but that the Kano State Commissioner of Police ordered him to be flown to Abuja in another aircraft without his family members.
Sanusi stated these in the suit he filed on Thursday to challenge his detention and confinement in Awe.
The Federal High Court in Abuja where he filed the suit on Friday granted an interim order for his release.
Justice Anwuli Chikere made the interim order after lawyer for the ex-CBN chief, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), moved an ex parte application earlier filed along with the main suit.
Fagbemi urged the court to restore the former emir’s rights to human dignity, personal liberty, freedom of association and movement in Nigeria.
He applied that his client be freed from the detention and allowed to move about in Nigeria apart from Kano in the interim.
He said his client had not been charged with any criminal offence to warrant his detention.
Justice Chikere granted the application, saying, “An interim order is hereby made releasing the applicant from the detention and or confinement of the respondents and restoring the applicant’s rights to human dignity, personal liberty, freedom of association and movement in Nigeria, (apart from Kano State) pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s originating summons.”
The respondents to which the court order was directed are, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi; Muktar; and Malami.
Justice Chkere ordered the order for the release of the applicant and the processes filed in the suit should be served on the respondents through any officer in their offices.
The judge adjourned till March 26 for the hearing of the main suit.
By that time, the four respondents are expected to have filed their defence.
Sanusi was first banished to Loko, a remote location in Nasarawa, before he was moved to Awe on Tuesday.
In his suit, Sanusi said he “is being subjected to inhumane treatment and discrimination of all sorts”.
He said this through his Chief of Staff (when he was emir), Da Buram Kano, who deposed to the affidavit filed in support of the suit on his behalf, said his dethronement was baseless but would not be challenging it.
The affidavit stated in part, “I verily believe the state government purportedly removed the applicant from office as the Emir Kano on March 9, 2020 without any basis or justification whatsoever and was not given any hearing on any allegation on which his removal was predicated.
“The applicant is, however, not challenging his removal as Emir of Kano in this suit.”
The deponent said since Sanusi’s “forcible relocation from the Palace of the Emir of Kano to Abuja, and later Nasarawa State, he has not been able to meet or unite with his wives, children, relatives and friends and that his rights have been severely curtailed”.
He added that before Sanusi was served his letter of dethronement, the palace was cordoned off by police and the DSS officers.
He said Sanusi informed the CP of his intention to fly with his family members on an aircraft sent to Kano by a friend, but his request was rebuffed by the police chief.
According to the aide, the CP told Sanusi that the instructions he received from Abuja was to take him to the Nigerian capital alone without his family.
Da Buram Kano said, “I know for a fact that the CP refused the applicant’s requests for protection and to carry his family with him to Lagos and stated that he had no such instructions from above, but instead directed that the applicant be flown to Abuja and then taken to Nasarawa State.
“In order not to jeopardise his safety or the safety of any member of his family or indeed other persons around, the applicant cooperated and proceeded in the vehicles provided by officers under the command of the respondents.
“The said Commissioner of Police, along with other officers under the command of the respondents, harassed and rushed the applicant out of the Emir Palace, Kano, without letting him take any personal belongings and personal effects, along with him as they took him into their waiting vehicles.
“The applicant was then taken in company with loads of armed men, being officers under the command of the respondents, to the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kano where he was put in a private aircraft to Abuja and departed Kano at about 6.40pm.
“The applicant was separated from his family who were also carried out of the palace.
“Upon arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, he was conveyed first to Lafia, then to Loko area of Nasarawa State, after being driven for about seven hours in the dead of the night.
“On March 10, 2020, he was taken back to Lafia and from there to Awe in Nasarawa State.”
The ex-emir’s aide also accused Muktar and Malami of being the mastermind behind Sanusi’s detention.
He said, “That the applicant is personally being detained in Nasarawa State by agents of the first and second respondents (IG and DG of the DSS), purporting to carry out the orders of the third and fourth respondents (Muktar and Malami).”
He added that Sanusi “has not been alleged to be a threat to peace and security” but rather “cooperated with the officers under the command of the respondents, and has since his travails under the hand of the officers under the command of the respondents issued public statement of peace for order, for reconciliation, for cooperation with the new Emir and the avoidance of any security breach or conflict.”
Sanusi’s suit contained 14 prayers, one of which is an order directing the respondents to pay him N50m “as damages for the unlawful and unconstitutional arrest and detention”.
He also prayed for an order “directing or compelling the respondents” to publish “in at least three national dailies an unreserved written apology to the applicant for the brazen breach of the applicant’s fundamental right.”
He also asked the court to order his unconditional release and prohibit the respondents from further interfering with his rights.
The ex-monarch also asked the court to restrain the respondents or their servants or agents “in their acts of banishing the applicant from the city of Kano or any other place of his choice and or otherwise in any way or manner whatsoever violating or infringing or continuing to violate or interfere upon his fundamental right to reside in any part of Nigeria as a place of his choice as duly guaranteed.”
When contacted by one of our correspondents on Friday, the spokesperson for the AGF, Dr. Umar Gwandu, said he could not respond to the Sanusi’s allegation contained in his suit until the minister sees the court document.