Some lawyers of Muhammadu Sanusi II, former emir of Kano, have threatened to file legal action against the state government over the detention of their client.
Abubakar Mahmoud, Sanusi’s lead counsel, issued the threat at a press conference on Tuesday.
The Kano executive council chaired by Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of the state, had removed Sanusi from the throne for “total disrespect to the office of the governor”, among other allegations.
But Mahmoud said Sanusi “was never given any opportunity to defend himself against those charges”.
He described the dethronement of the former monarch as “illegal, unconstitutional and a clear abuse of power”, accusing the state government of violating its own laws.
“This action, in our view, is illegal and unconstitutional. The Kano State Emirate Council Law which was recently enacted by the Government of Kano State does not give the State Executive Council or the Governor of Kano State the powers to unilaterally remove the emir,” the statement read.
“Section 13 of the Kano Emirates Council Law 2019 cited in the letter of deposition empowers the Governor to depose an Emir only after due inquiry and in consultation with State Council of Chiefs.
“We are not aware of such due inquiry nor are we aware that the Kano State Council of Chiefs was at any time summoned to any meeting much less discuss the removal of the Emir or give any advise to the Governor on the deposition.
“Muhammadu Sanusi II was the Chairman of the Council and if such meeting was summoned, he would have been aware. He would have informed us.”
Mahmoud condemned the banishment of the former emir and his forced evacuation from the palace by the police.
The lawyer said the choice of location by the state government “was intended to cause maximum trauma and distress” for the former emir, adding that the team has been unable to speak with Sanusi since he was taken to Nasarawa state.
“Be that as it may, the decision to challenge the removal is solely that of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II. At this moment no such instruction has been given to us,” he said.
“According to instructions we received from the Emir through his Chief of Staff, we are directed to take legal action to challenge the legality of the Emirs detention and banishment.
“The archaic practice of banishment of deposed Emirs, a colonial practice has no basis under Nigerian law or the Constitution. We are totally perplexed at the resort to this practice in present day Nigeria by its political leaders.
“We call on the authorities, in particular the Inspector General, the Director General of Department State Services and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to ensure the immediate release of HH Muhammadu Sanusi II so that he can be reunited with his family.
“We are concerned about the personal safety and security of HH Muhammdu Sanusi II and wish to call on all well-meaning Nigerians and the International Community to bring their influence to bear to ensure that HH Muhammadu Sanusi regains his liberty immediately and to guaranty his safety and security.
“The legal team of HH are working both in Kano and Abuja and unless he is released immediately, we will be taking appropriate legal action.”
Meanwhile, Sanusi had released a video where he announced the acceptance of his dethronement in good faith.
The former monarch has been moved from Loko town in Nasarawa to another area.