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Why I couldn’t save Sanusi, by Buhari

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Buhari

• Kwankwaso knocks president over alleged complicity
• ‘Kano govt not behind former emir’s detention’
• El-Rufai offers fresh appointment to deposed monarch
• New emir, Aminu Ado Bayero receives staff of office

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday absolved himself of complicity in the deposition of former Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II by the Kano State government.

Buhari said he “has no involvement whatsoever in the dethronement of HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II from the position of Emir of Kano,” stressing: “All such insinuations are untrue, malicious and politically motivated.”

The president’s reaction came in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu.

It reads: “The president does not have a history of intervening in the affairs of any state in the country, unless the issue at hand is of national consequence. On such matters, which impinge on national security, he has a duty of involvement as the law stipulates.

“As outlined in the constitution, the appointment or removal of emirs and other traditional leaders is strictly within the jurisdiction of state governments. It is unfair and disingenuous of opposition politicians to try to link the situation in Kano State to the Federal Government and the Nigerian president.

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“Although a retired General and former Military Head of State, President Buhari clearly understands that under the current democratic dispensation, the government at the centre cannot read instructions or twist the arms of all or any of the 36 state governments making up the federation. They all have their powers specified under the constitution.”

The president commended the Kano residents for staying calm and expressed hope that the people would continue to experience progress irrespective of who occupies the throne.

Former Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, however, condemned the deposition, saying it was unconstitutional. He also alleged that Buhari was aware of the decision to remove the former emir but remained silent.

Kwankwaso, who spoke to the BBC Hausa Service monitored in Kaduna, said: “First of all, it was a very sad day in Kano, Nigeria and the world because His Highness Emir Sanusi is a global citizen. From what we’ve seen and from what we’ve heard, no responsible government will take that kind of decision taken by the Kano State government.

“But importantly, Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic states that even if you despise a person, you should allow him to choose where to stay. Considering remarks made by those close to Mr. President that he does not interfere in misunderstandings, that he keeps mute whenever there are such conflicts…we, especially in Kano, look at this attitude of Mr. President differently.

“Where he was supposed to intervene, he never did and where he was not supposed to intervene, you find him intervening. Here, government officials are saying that they were instructed to depose Emir Sanusi.”

Also, a constitutional lawyer, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, said the banishment of Sanusi was unconstitutional.

He said, by the action, Sanusi had been unduly and wrongfully denied his constitutional rights to respect for the dignity of his person; the right to assemble freely and associate with other persons including the people of Kano Emirate; and the right to move freely throughout Nigeria and reside in any part.

According to him, while the governor has the constitutional power to remove the emir, it must be done “within the circumference of the law and due process must be followed.”

This came as Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Ibrahim Mukhtar yesterday said the state government was not responsible for Sanusi’s detention and banishment.

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According to Mukthar, the content of the deposition letter, which Sanusi countersigned, did not contain any clause suggesting banishment or detention.

He therefore maintained that security operatives should be held accountable for the whereabouts of the dethroned emir.

The legal team of Sanusi, led by a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Mahmoud, had on Tuesday described the former emir’s detention and banishment as unconstitutional and had issued a 24-hour ultimatum for his release.

The police spokesman in Kano, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, as at press time, could not be reached for reaction, as his telephone line was switched off.

Also, the Kano State government officially installed Aminu Ado Bayero as the 15th Fulani emir of Kano yesterday.

Aminu, who until his appointment was Emir of Bichi, was given his staff of office and letter of appointment by Governor Umar Ganduje.

His younger brother, Nasiru Ado Bayero, who had been the district head of Nasarawa, a metropolitan local government area, was also installed as the new emir of Bichi.

Before he became Emir of Bichi, Aminu Ado Bayero was named the district head of Nasarawa and Dan Majen Kano in 1990 by his late father, Ado Bayero. He was later promoted to Dan Buran Kano and thereafter named Turakin Kano. Aminu Ado Bayero was also Sarkin Dawakin Sakarin Gidan Kano before his elevation as Wamban Kano.

Buhari and Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule, meanwhile, met at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday.

Sule’s visit to the State House came ahead of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was presided over by Buhari.

The agenda of the closed-door meeting between the President and Sule was not disclosed. Sources, however, believe it is connected with the deposition of Sanusi.

Although Sule did not speak to reporters as he departed, The Guardian learnt he might also have visited the State House to brief the president on the security challenge in his state.

While Sule discussed with Buhari, his Kaduna State counterpart, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, appointed Sanusi as the chancellor of the Kaduna State University (KASU).

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The appointment came barely 24 hours after the governor had also named Sanusi as the vice chairman of the Kaduna State Investment and Promotion Agency (KADIPA).

A statement from the Kaduna State Government House, which announced the new appointment yesterday, said Sanusi succeeded the pioneer chancellor, His Highness Malam Tagwai Sambo, the Chief of Moro’a, who was appointed to the role in 2005.

The statement signed by Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser on Media and Communication, reads: “In public life, His Highness has demonstrated a strong commitment to education. The Kaduna State government has no doubt that, as chancellor, His Highness Muhammadu Sanusi, would provide symbolic and substantive leadership in raising the profile of KASU as an emerging centre of learning on the national and global level.

“‘Malam Nasir El-Rufai welcomes with gratitude the consent of His Highness Muhammadu Sanusi to serve as the chancellor of KASU and as the vice chairman of the board of KADIPA.

“The Kaduna State government is grateful that Muhammadu Sanusi II continues to support and assist the realisation of the governance objectives of the Kaduna State government.”

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