Davidson Iriekpen in Lagos, Alex Enumah in Abuja, Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano and Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia
Former Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, Thursday filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order for his release from his post-dethronement detention and confinement.
THISDAY gathered that the respondents to the application are the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), the Attorney General of Kano State and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Sanusi, who was dethroned on Monday by Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, has been in isolation in Awe in Nasarawa State.
Sanusi’s team of lawyers, led by Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), filed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/357/2020 before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In the suit, Sanusi prayed for an interim order releasing him “from the detention and 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 former traditional ruler said his banishment and subsequent confinement infringed on his fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
Sanusi in the fundamental human rights suit instituted yesterday, is, therefore, praying the court to void his banishment and order his release so that he can enjoy his fundamental rights as provided by law.
The former emir wants the court to restore his right to human dignity, personal liberty, freedom of association and movement in Nigeria apart from Kano State.
The suit is brought pursuant to section 34, 35, 40, 41 and 46 of the 1999 Constitution and Order 4 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court.
Sanusi’s legal team of about 30 lawyers, including 12 SANs, is headed by Fagbemi.
Responding to the growing outrage over Sanusi’s banishment, the state’s Attorney General, Mr. Ibrahim Muktar, had said the state government was not behind the former emir’s forcible relocation to Nasarawa State.
But the Kano State Commissioner for Police, Mr. Habu Sani Ahmadu, had said contrary to the belief in some quarters that the movement of the deposed emir from Kano to Nasarawa State was illegal and infringed on his fundamental human rights, his movement was ‘spelt out.’
THISDAY also gathered that the Governor of Nasarawa State, Mr. Abdullahi Sule, also visited the deposed emir.
Investigation revealed that the governor, along with the Emir of Lafia, visited the guest house of Awe local government chairman, where Sanusi has been kept since his dethronement.
Sanusi’s lawyers are challenging his banishment in court.
It was also gathered that the number of security agents guarding the house in Awe has been beefed up.
Visitors and journalists are not allowed access to the vicinity.
Ganduje’s Conduct Authoritarian, Says Soyinka
In his reaction to Sanusi’s ordeal, a Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, yesterday described the conduct of Ganduje against the former emir as authoritarian.
Soyinka, in a statement, said the Kano State governor lacked friends, who could have saved him from himself, adding that the Sanusi he thought he had humiliated has demonstrated that he is one of the greatest reformers even of the feudal order.
He said Ganduje’s conduct was part of the repudiated colonial order, which was characterised by “authoritarianism of the crudest temper.”
Soyinka described Sanusi as “a one-man EFCC sanitisation squad in the banking system taking on the powerful corrupters of that institution.”
“By contrast, confidence in immunity has catapulted his tormentor to the ranks of the most notorious public faces of the disorder that Sanusi strove to eradicate. Obviously, vengeance lay in wait, and he was not unaware of it. The signs were omnipresent and Sanusi acknowledged their imminence” he added.
He also stated that Sanusi was one of the early warning voices against religious extremism whose bitter fruits Nigeria is currently reaping.
“Why, I am not certain, but I do have the feeling that the palace gates of the Kano emirate are not yet definitively slammed against this Islamic scholar, royal scion and seasoned economist. It is just a feeling. Closed and bared, or merely shut however, the doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi,” Soyinka added.