The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the release of the deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, from the post-dethronement detention and confinement the state government had imposed, pending the determination of the case.
Mr Sanusi had on Thursday filed an application, asking the court to order his release.
Mr Sanusi was deposed following a resolution of the Kano State Executive Council on March 9, on allegations of insubordination.
Following his sack, he was taken to Awe in Nasarawa State and has been detained in an apartment in the town.
The suit, filed on Thursday, was brought pursuant to section 34, 35, 40, 41 and 46 of the 1999 Constitution and Order 4 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court
Mr Sanusi asked for, “An interim order of this Honourable Court 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 Motion.”
Upon granting the above request, the former Central Bank Governor(CBN) also urged the court to make, “An order granting leave to the Applicant to effect service of this order alongside the originating motion and subsequent processes’” on all the respondents.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the Director-General of the State Security Services(SSS), Yusuf Bichi; Attorney General of Kano State and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; are the first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively.
Premised on eight grounds, the suit stated that, “Applicant’s fundamental right to life, human dignity, personal liberty and moverment are seriously under challenge and continually being breached by the Respondents.”
At the commencement of the case on Friday, the team of lawyers led by Lateef Fagbemi, in urging the court to grant their request, said the health of the applicant is a subject of concern.
Mr Fagbemi said, “before the pronouncement of the kano state government deposing the applicant, the palace of the applicant was already evaded by the first and second respondents.”
The lawyer further said that there is no criminal proceeding pending against the applicant and “the applicant has offered not to go to Kano until the determination of the origination sermon.”
Ruling on the application on Friday, the judge, Anwuli Chikere, granted the prayers one and two respectively.
She further held that the respondent are to be served the originating summon within five-days and the respondents to reply within five-days.
Justice Chikere adjourned to March 26.
In court to witness the day’s proceedings was the ousted emir’s sister, Zainab Sanusi, and his daughter, Khadija Sanusi.
Many Nigerian lawyers have condemned the dethronement and banishment of the emir to Nasarawa, saying he was not granted fair hearing before the dethronement and such banishment violates his freedom of movement.
The Kano State Government said on Monday that it dethroned Mr Sanusi because of insubordination.
Usman Alhaji, the Secretary to the Kano State Government, stated this in a statement circulated to journalists.
Many see the Kano government’s action as Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s way of getting at Mr Sanusi who had been accused of working against the governor’s re-election last year.
In his statement, Mr Alhaji said the Kano State Executive Council unanimously approved Mr Sanusi’s dethronement.
The Executive Council is made up of the governor, the deputy governor, commissioners, and other selected appointees of the governor.
“The Emir of Kano is in total disrespect to lawful instructions from the office of the state Governor and other lawful authorities, including his persistent refusal to attend official meetings and programmes organised by the Government without any lawful justification which amount to insubordination,” Mr Alhaji said.
“It is on record and in so many instances Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II has been found breaching part 3 section 13 (a-e) of the Kano State Emirate Law 2019 and which if left unchecked will destroy the good and established image of the Kano Emirate,” the official added.
The Kano emirate law that Mr Alhaji referenced is the one which created four new first class emirs in Kano State. Before then, the emir of Kano was the only first-class emir in the state.
Mr Sanusi and other members of the Kano emirate are challenging the law in court.