Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi 11 yesterday opened up on how he was manhandled by security agents from the police, DSS and others in their bid to force him out the palace and banish him to Nasarawa state after his dethronement by the Kano state government.
The Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, on Monday deposed Sanusi because of what the state government called total disrespect to lawful instructions from the state government. Same day, the dethroned monarch was banished to Loko, a remote location in Nasarawa State. On Tuesday, he was relocated to Awe, where he is currently being detained in a guest house.
As a result, the deposed monarch filed an application, which is a prelude to the main suit, and specifically prayed for an interim order for the restoration of his rights to human dignity, personal liberty, freedom of association, and movement around Nigeria, apart from Kano State, pending the hearing and determination of his main suit.
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court therefore ordered the immediate release the dethroned Emir from detention and confinement in Nassarawa State. Justice Anwuli Chikere who granted the exparte application which was moved by Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, ruled that the deposed Emir can exercise his right to freedom of movement in any part of the country apart from Kano State pending the hearing and determination of his substantive suit.
The respondents to the application are, the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu; the Director General of the Department of State Service, Yusuf Bichi; the Attorney-General of Kano State, Ibrahim Muktar, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN.
The Judge ordered that the fundamental rights of the deposed emir to freedom of movement and human dignity flagrantly breached must be restored to him immediately. Justice Chikere agreed that since the former Emir has no pending criminal charge or valid order for his detention, placing him under house arrest under whatever guise is a clear breach of his fundamental rights as guaranteed under the 1999 constitution.
The court in addition ordered the service of the originating summon on the respondents through substituted means. Meanwhile, the matter has been fixed March 26 for further hearing in the case. “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 summons,” the prayer read in part.
Fagbemi; Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi; a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud; Adeniyi Akintola, the incumbent NBA President, Paul Usoro; Ifedayo Adedipe, Dr. Garba Tetengi, Suraj Sa’eda, Funke Aboyade, Nesser Dangiri, Ernest Ojukwu, and H.O. Afolabi, led the legal team. In addition to the interim order, the lawyers sought an order granting leave to the applicant to serve the order to be issued by the court and the main suit on the four respondents through substituted means.
He prayed for an order permitting him to deliver the processes meant for the IGP to any officer in his office at the police headquarters at Louis Edet House, Garki, Abuja, the ones for the DG DSS to any officer at the DSS headquarters at Aso Drive in Abuja, the ones for the AG of Kano State to any officer at state’s Ministry of Justice, Audu Bako Secretariat, Kano, and the ones for the AGF to any officer at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja. His grounds for the application include; “The applicant’s originating motion and all other processes were filed on March 12, 2020. Considering the status of the respondents, it would be difficult to effect personal service on the first second and third respondents (IGP, DG of DSS), unless this application is granted.
“First, second and third respondents will have knowledge of the originating motion for the enforcement of the applicant’s fundamental right, if they are served by substituted means as stated on the motion paper. There is an urgent need to grant this application so that service can be promptly effected on the first, second and third respondents.
“Applicant’s fundamental rights to life, human dignity, personal liberty and movement are seriously under challenge and continually being breached by the respondents.”
Meanwhile, the deposed Emir has painted a graphic picture of the events that took place at the palace after he was deposed. In a 42 paragraph supporting affidavit to the originating summons, sworn to by his Chief of Staff, Muhammad Mannir Sanusi, he told the court how he and his family members were maltreated by security agencies at the palace. He further told the court how after arriving the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja he was driven to Lafia in Nassarawa State, a journey of seven hours by road in the dead of the night.
The depondent averred that the deposed Emir “was appointed and crowned the 14th Emir of Kano emirate council in Kano state, the Paramount traditional ruler of the city of Kano in Kano state of Nigeria on June 9, 2014, and he acted creditably well in that capacity without and let or hindrance whatsoever from any quarters and he remained the Emir until he was deposed by the Kano state government on March 9, 2020.
“That I verily believe the Kano state government purportedly removed the applicant from office as the Emir of Kano on 9th March, 2020 without any basis or justification whatsoever and was not given any hearing on any allegation on which his removal was predicated.
“That while the applicant was waiting for the letter of deposition to be served on him, there was commotion in the private wing of the palace as some unauthorized persons tried to enter the family section of the palace.
“This led to some scuffle and teargas were fired by officers under the command of the respondents. Normalcy was restored after the unauthorized persons along with armed officers under the command of the respondents retreated from the inner part of the palace.
“I am aware (because I was present when it happened) that the applicant informed the Commissioner of Police, Kano state who later came in (as aforesaid) that his friends had sent an aircraft to fly him and his family to Lagos and requested that they should be provided with necessary security to the airport so that he could leave.
“I know for a fact that the Commissioner of Police, Kano state (as aforesaid) refused the applicant’s request for security protection and to carry his family with him to Lagos and stated that he has no such instruction from above, but instead directed that the applicant be flown to Abuja and then onwards taken to Nassarawa state.
“In order not to jeopardize his safety and 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, Kano state along with other officers under the command of the respondents, harassed and rushed the applicant out of the Emir’s 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 the company of loads of armed men, being officers under the command of the respondents, to the Nigerian Airforce 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. I was informed by the applicant on March 10 at about 9:00pm via a phone conversation of the following facts which I verily believe to be true as follows:
“Upon arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, he was conveyed first to Lafia, then to Loko area of Nassarawa State, after driving 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 Nassarawa State. Since his deportation or forceful relocation from Kano, he has not been allowed to move freely, to live freely, to associate with those he desires or to work in the way he desires. That his relocation first to Abuja, then Loko, and subsequently to Awe in Nassarawa State and separation from his family are against his wish and without his consent. “He has never been invited by any of the respondents for the purposes of any investigation, nor in relation to any offence nor has he been convicted by any court and he has not been served with any order of court for his arrest and detention.”