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The Kano royal crisis

By Auwal Sa’idu Mu’azu, Murtala Adewale (Kano) and Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna)
10 March 2020   |   4:30 am
The months-long political tremor that rumbled around the palace of Kano’s traditional ruler, Muhammadu Sanusi II, climaxed in his dethronement yesterday.

Aminu Ado Bayero

The months-long political tremor that rumbled around the palace of Kano’s traditional ruler, Muhammadu Sanusi II, climaxed in his dethronement yesterday.

In 24 hours, the Kano State government unleashed a series of powerful seismic activities that witnessed the holding of an emergency executive council meeting. Heavily armed security men then blockaded the entrance and exit to the palace. And before many Kano residents could comprehend the magnitude of the quake, a new emir had been announced and the former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor banished.

The appointment of the new ruler, Emir of Bichi Aminu Ado Bayero, according to Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Alhaji Usman Alhaji, was in tandem with Section 11 Sub-section 1 of the Deposition Laws 1999 (as amended), which empowers Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to take the action.

Alhaji said the choice of Ado Bayero was based on the recommendation of Kano’s kingmakers who had earlier submitted a list of potential replacements.

Emir of Bichi Aminu Ado Bayero is one of the four newly appointed first class emirs. The other emirates – Rano, Gaya and Karaye – were carved out of Kano Emirate by the state government in a move aimed at weakening Sanusi’s influence.

Sanusi, who was accused of insubordination and disrespect for constituted authority in the state, is reportedly banished to Nasarawa State.Shortly after the emergency meeting, the SSG said: “The removal of Sanusi was reached to safeguard the sanctity, culture, tradition, religion and prestige of the Kano Emirate built over a thousand years ago.

“It is on record, and in so many instances, Mallam Muhammadu 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 Kano Emirate.

“This removal is made after due consultation with the relevant stakeholders and in compliance with Part 3, Section 13 of the Kano State Emirate Law 2019 and other reasons stated.”The SSG urged Kano residents to remain calm, law-abiding and go about their normal business.

How emir was evicted from palace
AS soon as the news of the removal of the former emir filtered in, the palace was thrown into mourning. Residents were seen in groups discussing the matter with shock and disbelief. Some however maintained that it wasn’t altogether unexpected.

When The Guardian visited the palace, heavily armed security operatives had already sealed up the place to maintain peace. Though movement in and outside the premises was highly restricted, a palace guard informed our correspondent that before the announcement of his removal, the emir had sent a message to the guards who reported for work that he (emir) was indisposed. Shortly after, the guards were withdrawn. Thereafter, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, announced the removal of the emir.

The mood at the palace became tense as the emir was cocooned within by operatives who denied everyone access to the palace. Titleholders and associates, who came calling, upon hearing of the development, were all turned back. Among them was Sarkin Fulani.

As anxious reporters and others watched, the heads of security agencies in Kano including the Commissioner of Police led another team of operatives to the palace.

The Guardian was reliably informed that a mild drama ensued as Sanusi refused to leave the palace so as not to pave way for the appointment and announcement of his successor. (Tradition maintains that no new emir can be appointed or announced as long as the former refuses to vacate.) The standoff led to the invasion of the palace by some armed thugs ostensibly to eject Sanusi.

Before the heads of security agencies arrived, some residents of the palace locked the second gate leading to the emir’s chamber. They threw stones and chanted “karya ne” (It’s a lie) but armed thugs, led by one of the state governor’s political appointees, neutralised those resisting the eviction of the emir.

After about a five-hour standoff and mediation by some associates of the emir, notably the Chief Imam of Alfurqan Jumu’at mosque, Dr Bashir Aliyu Umar, Sanusi was taken away in a long convoy to the Malam Aminu Kano Airport preparatory to his banishment.

• Sanusi’s battles against allegations
BEFORE his dethronement, Sanusi had battled series of allegations. They included the mismanagement of N3.4 billion belonging to the emirate council and the sale of landed property worth N2.6 billon belonging to the emirate.

The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission has recently announced a fresh investigation in which Sanusi was accused of illegally disposing off land without government’s knowledge.

Addressing journalists recently, the chairman of the commission, Muhuyi, said: “I wish to categorically state that this commission is entering a new investigation brought forward by a whistleblower on 29th December, 2019 and is not related to an earlier investigation which is still the subject matter of a civil suit. Preliminary findings suggest that a company, Country Wide House Ltd, served as a corporate vehicle to allegedly launder the sum of over N2 billion being the proceeds of several hectares of land in Darmanawa Phase I and II and Bubbugaji, under the right of occupancy CON-RESS 2016-503, illegally sold to Messer Family Home Fund Limited at the alleged instance of His Highness, the Emir of Kano.

“Investigation further reveals that some of the proceeds of the sales remitted to the emirate council’s bank account can be traced to companies of interest to His Highness. His Highness is also alleged to have ordered the payment of N175 million to Messrs. Apple Integrated Resources, as facilitating fee.”

The power of the commission to initiate criminal complaints was being challenged in a suit (K/208/2019), filed by Dikko & Mahmoud, but the commission drew attention to an appeal, which affirmed that the Kano State House of Assembly could investigate allegations of corruption against any person in the state.

Sanusi’s battle with the Kano State government started in 2018 when Ganduje accused him of openly kicking against his policy. Sanusi had described the proposed plan by Ganduje to borrow billions of naira to construct a light rail in Kano as wasteful.
The deposed emir has also been accused of campaigning for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Crisis at Kano Assembly over emir’s removal
KANO State lawmakers had a rowdy session yesterday over the plot to remove Sanusi.The drama started when Deputy Speaker Hamisu Ibrahim moved a motion to discuss issues relating to the investigation against Sanusi.

But the member representing Dala Constituency, Lawan Hussaini, vehemently kicked against the motion, insisting the matter was not on the list of proceedings.

The development led to an altercation between some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition PDP, forcing the speaker to suspend plenary for 30 minutes.

The House had last Wednesday set up an investigation panel led by Ibrahim to investigate a petition against the embattled emir. The petitioners had claimed the emir committed acts detrimental to the culture and tradition of Kano.Hussaini had kicked against the move, insisting the petitioners should physically appear before the House. The speaker had however overruled him.

Shehu Sani condemns dethronement
CIVIL rights activist, Senator Shehu Sani, in a brief statement, said: “The removal of Emir Sanusi represents the incompatibility of the crown and conscience. It is the consequence of dissent against established norms and the heavy price of holding principles in our north. It also reveals the intolerance and toxicity of the liquor of power.”