The Attorney General of Kano State, Ibrahim Muktar, on Wednesday said the state government did not banish the deposed Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II.
Muktar said the state government was clear in its press statement on Monday that Sanusi was deposed, but never made any reference to any banishment.
The Kano AG said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday.
Muktar said this just as security was on Wednesday beefed up in a compound, where Sanusi is being detained in Awe town in the Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, had on Monday deposed Sanusi because of what the state government called “total disrespect to lawful instructions from the office of the state government.”
On Monday, the dethroned monarch was banished to Loko, a remote location in Nasarawa State. On Tuesday, he was relocated to Awe.
Sanusi’s legal team, led by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Balarabe-Mahmoud, on Tuesday, asked the government to release Sanusi or face a legal action.
The lawyers, who described Sanusi’s banishment and detention as illegal, alleged that the deposed Emir was being subjected to maximum stress and trauma.
But on Wednesday, the Kano State attorney general said the state government did not banish Sanusi.
He 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.
‘Why security agents whisked Sanusi away from Kano’
Muktar said security agents decided to whisk Sanusi away from Kano State due to intelligence reports they had.
He said it was a normal practice for deposed emirs to be moved away to maintain peace in the state, adding that such an action was not in contravention of the constitution, which guarantees freedom of movement.
The AG further stated that Sanusi was not removed because of the corruption probe, but strictly because of insubordination.
He said, “The state government has not taken the law into its 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.”
When asked if the anti-corruption agency in Kano would continue with Sanusi’s probe, Muktar responded, “No decision on that actually. I cannot pre-empt the position of the government on whether investigation will stop or will continue. I cannot say as of now.”
Sanusi has been in Nasarawa State since his removal on Monday and has been denied access to visitors, according to his lawyers.
A fact check by The PUNCH, showed that Muktar’s position contradicted the letter of deposition given to Sanusi on Monday.
It was learnt that while the SSG did not say in his statement that Sanusi had been banished, a copy of the letter sent to Sanusi read that he would be taken to Nasarawa.
It read in part, “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 March 9, 2020/14, Rajab 1441A.H has approved and directed your immediate removal and dethronement as the Emir of Kano and also for your immediate relocation to Nasarawa State which is done in line with the relevant section of the Kano State Emirate Council Law of 2019.”
Similarly, Ganduje’s media aide, Salihu Yakasai, had said on Twitter on Monday that Sanusi would be denied access to visitors during his time in Nasarawa.
40 security men keep Sanusi under watch at Nasarawa detention centre
- Bar people from visiting deposed Emir
Meanwhile, security was on Wednesday beefed up in a compund, where the Emir is being detained at Awe town in Nasarawa State.
No fewer than 40 security agents, including policemen, personnel of the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, were deployed in the compound, which has three houses.
One of our correspondents, who visited Awe counted no fewer than 40 policemen guarding the compound,
A police vehicle with number plate 3623 was parked in front of the houses, close to the palace of the paramount ruler of Awe Chiefdom, Alhaji Isah Umar.
The compound, which was said to be a private building of the Chairman of the Local Government Area, Mr Umar Abubakar, is along the road that leads to Benue State.
The security agents turned back sympathisers who thronged the house to visit the dethroned Emir.
Two paramount rulers – the Yakanajin Uke, Alhaji Ahmad Abdullai, and the Sarkin Karshi, Dr Muhammed Bako, – were among the people prevented from visiting the deposed Emir.
The monarchs, who got to the gate of the compound around 1:30pm, were turned back by the security men.
The overzealous security agents also chased away a crowd who had gathered in front of the compound. They also harassed journalists, who were at the gate of the compound.
The police seized mobile telephones of The PUNCH and The Guardian correspondents on the grounds that they took pictures of the houses without approval. The overzealous security men later returned the phones and asked the journalists to delete the pictures.
El-Rufai gives Sanusi second appointment in 24 hours, makes him KASU chancellor
In Kaduna State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, on Wednesday appointed the deposed Emir of Kano as the Chancellor of the Kaduna State University.
El-Rufai made the appointment barely 24 hours after he appointed the former Emir into the board of the state investment promotion agency.
The governor, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, said the deposed emir succeeded the pioneer Chancellor of KASU, Mallam Tagwai Sambo, the Chief of Moro’a in Southern Kaduna.
He stated, “The Kaduna State Government has named His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II, as the Chancellor of the Kaduna State University barely 24 hours after he was made the Vice Chairman of Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency.
“Sanusi II succeeds the pioneer Chancellor, His Highness, Malam Tagwai Sambo, the Chief of Moro’a, who was appointed to the role in 2005.”
The statement stated further that the appointment was based on the fact that “in public life, His Highness has demonstrated a strong commitment to education.
“The Kaduna State Government has no doubt that as chancellor, His Highness Muhammadu Sanusi will provide symbolic and substantive leadership in raising the profile of KASU as an emerging centre of learning on the national and global levels.
“The appointment of the new chancellor comes at an exciting moment for KASU, which is transiting to a multi-campus structure with presence across the state.”
Sanusi’s new appointments: We aren’t bothered, says Kano govt
- El-Rufai can give Sanusi any appointment –Ganduje
Reacting to Sanusi’s appointments, the Kano State Government said the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, was free to give any appointment to the deposed emir.
The Special Adviser to the Kano State Governor on Media, Alhaji Salihu Yakasai, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the state government did not harbour any ill-feeling towards the appointments given to the deposed emir.
The special adviser said the state government was not bothered about the appointments given to Sanusi.
Yakasai stated, “As far as we are concerned, the Kaduna State Government is at liberty to give the deposed Emir of Kano any appointment it feels like giving him.
“It is the prerogative of the Kaduna State Government to do whatever it likes and that does not bother the Kano State Government. So as far as we are concerned, Governor El-Rufai is at liberty to give the deposed emir any appointment.”
Buhari ordered Sanusi’s dethronement – Kwankwaso
A former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, accused the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd), of ordering Sanusi’s dethronement.
The former governor stated this in an interview on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation monitored in Kaduna on Wednesday.
Kwankwaso said the deposed Emir should have been given the choice of where he would stay as enshrined in Section 35 of the constitution.
He noted that the deposed Emir, as well as the people of Kano State, had been humiliated by the treatment meted out to the deposed monarch.
The former governor said, “First of all, this is a very sad day in Kano and Nigeria in general and indeed the world over because His Highness, Emir Sanusi, is a global citizen. From what we’ve seen, from what we’ve heard, no responsible government will take the kind of decision that was taken by the Kano State Government, deposing Emir Sanusi ll.
“But importantly, Section 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says even if you depose a person, you should allow him to choose where to stay.
“Considering remarks made by those closer to Mr President, they say he does not interfere in misunderstandings, that he keeps mute whenever there are such conflicts. But we, especially in Kano, we look at this attitude of Mr President differently. Where he was supposed to intervene, he never did. So, where he was not supposed to intervene, you found him intervening.
“You see, here in Kano State Government themselves (officials) said they were ordered from above to depose the Emir. He (Buhari) is the one that gave them the order.”
When asked whether he ever advised the President on required intervention in the Kano crisis, the former governor said, “The President has numerous advisers, important dignitaries collecting salaries. He does not need people’s advice, especially if such advice was not solicited.”
Dismissing insinuation that he ever queried the deposed Emir while in office, the former governor said, “I never issued a query to His Highness Emir Sanusi II.
Buhari has no hand in Sanusi’s removal –Presidency
But the Presidency, in its reaction, said Buhari was not involved in the dethronement of Sanusi.
The Presidency, in a statement by a presidential aide, Garba Shehu, said, “All such insinuations are untrue, malicious and politically-motivated.”
It noted that Bahuri had no history of involving himself in matters that were purely within the jurisdiction of state governments unless they had national security implications.
He stated, “The President does not have a history of intervening in the affairs of any state in the country, unless the issue at hand is of national consequence. On such matters which impinge on national security, he has a duty of involvement as the law stipulates.
“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 centre cannot read instructions or twist the arms of all or any of the 36 state governments making up the federation.”
Nasarawa gov visits Aso Rock, meets Buhari
Buhari and the Governor of Nasarawa State, Mr Abdullahi Sule, held a morning meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
Sule came to the Presidential Villa at 10am ahead of the Federal Executive Council meeting.
The two met at the President’s residence, not in his office.
Findings indicated that the governor might have visited to brief the President on the latest security situation in his state, especially the presence of a high-profile personality like Sanusi.
The Presidency did not give any official explanations on the visit by Sule.
Meanwhile, the village Head of Loko, Nasarawa State, Ahmed Sabo, said on Wednesday that the deposed Emir was relocated to Awe because Loko lacked the social amenities that befitted his status.
The village head, who spoke in an interview on the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation monitored in Kaduna, however, said the deposed monarch spent a night in Loko before his transfer to Awe.
According to the monarch, the former emir is too big for a village that lacks the social amenities that will make his stay comfortable.