Emirship tussle: Court affirms jurisdiction to hear Bayero’s rights suit

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A Federal High Court in Kano, on Thursday, ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the human rights violation case filed by the dethroned Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, and senior councillor, Aminu Dan’agundi, following the reinstatement of Emir Muhammad Sanusi II.

The court issued an ex-parte order preventing Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano from reinstating Sanusi until a substantive suit against the reinstatement is resolved.

 

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Afam Osigwe

Chukwuemeka Mbamala

Chukwuemeka Mbamala

The order also opposed the abolishment of four emirates—Bichi, Gaya, Karaye, and Rano—under a bill previously passed by the state House of Assembly.

 

All parties were instructed to maintain the status quo until the suit filed by Sarkin Dawaki Babba and Aminu Babba-Dan’Agundi is determined.

Justice Liman granted the plaintiff/applicant permission to issue and serve their originating motion and other court processes to the sixth defendant (Inspector General of Police) in Abuja, and outside the court’s jurisdiction.

 

The defendants in the suit include the Kano State Government, the Kano State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the State Assembly, the Kano State Commissioner of Police, the Inspector General of Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Department of State Security.

 

Justice Liman said all parties are ordered to maintain status quo ante in the passage and assent of the bill.

“That parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante pending hearing of the fundamental rights application.

 

“In view of the constitutional and jurisdictional issues apparent on the

in the face of the application, parties shall address the court at the hearing of the fundamental rights application which is fixed for the 3rd of June, 2024.

“That to maintain the peace and security of the state, an Interim Injunction of this Honourable Court is granted restraining the respondents from enforcing, executing, implementing and operationalizing the Kano State Emirate Law Council (Repeal) Law.

 

“That parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante the passage and assent of the bill into pending the hearing of the fundamental rights application,” he said.

 

However, when the case resumed on Thursday, Justice Liman, relying on Section 42 Sub-section 1 of the Constitution, said the court has powers of jurisdiction to hear the case.

 

The judge noted, “What I find intriguing is the respondents’ total reliance on this case of Gongola, whereas Section 42 Sub-section 1 of the Constitution has clearly spelt out the jurisdictional powers of the Federal High Court to preside over such a case.

“That to maintain the peace and security of the state, an Interim Injunction of this Honourable Court is granted restraining the respondents from enforcing, executing, implementing and operationalizing the Kano State Emirate Law Council (Repeal) Law.

 

“That parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante the passage and assent of the bill into pending the hearing of the fundamental rights application,” he said.

 

However, when the case resumed on Thursday, Justice Liman, relying on Section 42 Sub-section 1 of the Constitution, said the court has powers of jurisdiction to hear the case.

 

The judge noted, “What I find intriguing is the respondents’ total reliance on this case of Gongola, whereas Section 42 Sub-section 1 of the Constitution has clearly spelt out the jurisdictional powers of the Federal High Court to preside over such a case.

“My respectful view is that the case of Tukur against the Gongola is indistinguishable from the present case. Section 42 Sub-section 1 and Section 32 of the Constitution has vested a power on our court to decide on this matter.”

In continuation of the case the plaintiff’s counsel, Chukwuson Ojukwu, argued that the matter is ripe for hearing as to the main issues of the invalidity of the reappointment of a new Emir and the deposition of 15th Emir Aminu Ado Bayero.

 

But A. G Wakil insisted that the new motion seeking to continue hearing on the Chieftaincy Affairs issues was not part of the original summons and is a different application outside the matter of Human Rights Violation and the jurisdictional powers of the court, which the court had decided.

 

The judge explained that the matter was adjourned till Thursday, June 13, 2024, for only ruling and nothing else.

 

Justice Liman adjourned the case till June 14, 2024, noting that the matter was too sensitive to linger.

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