Sanusi’s dethronement, banishment illegal – Falana

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Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN, on Tuesday described the dethronement band banishment of Muhammad Sanusi II as illegal.

He spoke in a statement hours after the development.

It reads: “Yesterday, the Kano state government held an executive council meeting presided over by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. At the said meeting the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was accused of having disrespected the Governor by not attending official meetings and displaying utter disdain for constituted authority.
And without giving the Emir any opportunity to react to the allegations the executive council tried him, found him guilty and announced his removal from the throne. Apart from deposing the Emir without affording him the opportunity to defend himself Governor Ganduje was the accuser, the prosecutor, witness and judge at the inquisition which lasted for about 5 minutes. At the end of the inquisition the accused was convicted and sentenced to dethronement. As if the reckless violations of the Emir’s right to fair hearing were not sufficient Governor Ganduje proceeded to order the indefinite restriction of the deposed Emir’s movement and indefinite detention at Loko, Nasarawa State.

Thus, the fundamental rights of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to personal liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed by sections 35 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and article 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 have also been violated. Since the Kano state government lacks the power to abrogate the fundamental rights of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi without following a procedure permitted by law his banishment and detention in Nasarawa State are illegal in every material particular.

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At the time the British colonial regime engaged in the dethronement, banishment, restriction of movement and detention of traditional rulers who opposed the looting of the resources of the colonial territory of Nigeria the fundamental rights of all colonial subjects were not recognised in spite of the much touted Magna Carta. Hence, some of the traditional rulers who were deposed and banished to remote islands abroad where they were killed. The Britain colonial regime got away with such atrocities because colonial powers at the material time operated outside the ambit of law and civilised standards. But under the current democratic dispensation in Nigeria no state government has the power to remove a traditional ruler and subject him to banishment and detention without following due process. Therefore, the Kano State Government should release Sanusi forthwith and allow him to contest his removal from the throne if he so desires.”