Saturday, 14 March 2020
AGF Malami, Kano AG ordered my detention – Sanusi
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.
Why I won’t abandon Sanusi – El-Rufai
Meanwhile, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who offered Sanusi two appointments after his dethronement, said he could not leave the embattled monarch at this time. He added that Sanusi had been with him since he was a teenager and that he (Sanusi) had never left him.
He pointed out that traditional rulers deserve respect and that in Kaduna, monarchs as the custodians of culture are respected.
Speaking on Sanusi’s freedom of movement as ruled by the court, El-Rufai, who was in Awe around 12:45 to accompany Sanusi out of the town after the court ruling, told journalists that, “I came to visit my friend and my brother, the deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, and to see how he is doing and to express my support for him.”
“We have been friends since we were teenagers. He has been by my side throughout my troubles and successes and I have to be by his side throughout his own troubles and successes. We are inseparable.”
Fielding questions from journalists shortly after Friday’s Jumat prayer, he said, “As you know, the Federal High Court in Abuja today declared his detention illegal and unconstitutional and his banishment also in violation of the constitution. So, he is free.
“He can live anywhere he wants, including Kano city, if he wants. But we are on our way to Abuja. It is quite likely that the emir proceeds to Lagos which was his preferred destination from day one.
“From the day he was informed of his deposition, it was his wish to go to Lagos because some of his family members are now in Lagos. And by the grace of God, we are on our way to Lagos.”
On the appointment he offered Sanusi as the vice-chairman of Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency after the dethronement, El-Rufai maintained that the emir was a global citizen with network of contacts around the world, saying he could bring a lot of investments to Kaduna State.
He said he could not offer him the position when he was emir because he should be attracting investment to Kano State but that as soon as he was available, he seized the opportunity to bring that value to Kaduna State.
On the second appointment as the Chancellor of Kaduna State University, El-Rufai, however, affirmed that it had been a practice in Nigeria for emirs to be chancellors of universities, noting that he didn’t want the emir to feel as if he had lost everything.
The governor added, “In Kaduna, we honour our traditional rulers because they are the custodians of our cultural values. We revere and respect them. So, apart from being my childhood friend, traditional rulers deserve our respect.”
Security attached to guard Sanusi apprehend ‘fake soldier’ in Awe
A suspected fake soldier was apprehended by the police that guarded Sanusi on Friday morning.
The suspect was caught with military camouflage and military boots in a private lodge in the area.
He was questioned by the police on duty.
When asked to identify himself, he said he was a soldier on terminal leave and that he was in Awe to have audience with Sanusi.
Spokesman for the police in the state, ASP Ramhan Nansel, failed to return his calls. He did not reply to the SMS sent to him by our correspondent as of the time of filing this report.
Sanusi in high spirits, says El-Rufai
Meanwhile, El-Rufai, who went from Abuja to Awe town by road, met Sanusi in high spirits, demonstrating his usual calm, poise and regal bearing amid what had befallen him in the past four days.
“His Highness seems to have taken all that happened in his stride but has reiterated his commitment to enforcing his fundamental human right,” a statement by the Special Adviser to El-Rufai on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, said on Friday.
“Sanusi manifested a renewed vigour to continue serving humanity in his lifelong efforts to expand the frontiers of knowledge and to campaign against unworthy timid ignorance that has shackled Nigeria as a perpetual potentially great nation.”
The statement said Sanusi rode in El-Rufai’s car to Abuja, from where Sanusi II would proceed to Lagos.
Mother visits ex-emir
Also, the mother of deposed emir of Kano, was reported to have visited her son in Awe on Friday.
The Cable reported that the mother, who was dressed in a red gown, was accompanied by two ladies.
Sanusi’s dethronement confirms Nigeria’s moral decadence – EKSU VC
The Vice-Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Prof Edward Olanipekun, has said Sanusi’s removal as Emir of Kano is a confirmation of the moral decadence in the country.
Olanipekun said the school was saddened by the “sudden ill-motive dethronement” of the monarch, who is the Chancellor of the university.
In a letter of solidarity to Sanusi dated March 12, the VC said, “The Governing Council, Senate, staff and students of the university will continue to recognise you as chancellor of the university with a view to projecting your representation for Nigeria to be a better place for us and generations to come.
In a related development, the Ekiti State Government has said it will retain Sanusi as the Chancellor of the state owned Ekiti State University in Ado-Ekiti.
NAN reported on Friday that the government made its position known in a letter it addressed to the former emir. Governor Kayode Fayemi had appointed Sanusi as the chancellor in June 2019.
The dethroned Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, arrived the chartered flights’ wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Friday night.
Officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria had earlier confirmed that the deposed Emir was expected at the airport around 9pm.
Well-wishers and relatives of Sanusi were on ground at the NAIA to receive the former Emir, who was heading to Lagos from Abuja.
The chartered flights’ wing of the airport witnessed the presence of heavy security personnel, as they ensured strict screening and monitoring of movements at the facility.
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