Court declares banishment Deposed Emir Sanusi of Kano unlawful
Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja has declared as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional, the banishment of the deposed Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to Awe, a remote community in Nasarawa State by the Kano state government.
The court held that the restrictions placed on Sanusi after his deposition on March 9, 2020 on allegation of insubordination is a clear arbitrary violation of his right to freedom of movement and personal liberty granted by the Nigerian constitution.
Justice Chikere in a judgment on fundermental human rights suit filed by Sanusi agreed with Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, counsel to Sanusi that his client was moved out of Kano to Abuja and later to Awe, in Nasarawa state against his wish and in contravention of his right to freedom of movement and association.
She further held that the right to freedom of liberty and personal dignity granted under section 34 of Nigeria’s constitution cannot be taken away as done by Kano government, Police and DSS except with express order of a court.of competent jurisdiction.
The Judge subsequently voided the arrest, detention, harrassment and banishment of Sanusi to Abuja and later to Nasarawa state and set it aside on ground of being infringement to his fundermental human rights.
An Emirates Chieftain law of Kano state which empowers a governor to restrict or banish any deposed traditional ruler was also voided on account of been illegal, unlawful having run into conflict with provisions of the 1999 constitution.
Justice Chikere agreed with Lateef Fagbemi SAN that the country’s constitution is the supreme law and that any law which runs contrary to its provisions must not be allowed by any law court to stand or have its way or effect on any Nigerian citizen.
Justice Chikere therefore declared as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional, the purported house arrest and restrictions placed on the former Emir by the Kano state government, Police and the Department of the State Service DSS.
The Judge also voided the banishment of Sanusi to Abuja and later to Nasarawa state on the ground of constituting serious infringement to his fundermental rights.
“Fundermental rights law is weighty, inalienable and cannot be wished away as done by the respondents in the instant case.
“There is no provision in the Nigeria’s supreme law that where a person is dethroned, he should be banished to another place without his consent.
“Every Nigerian citizen must be treated with dignity except where such citizen commit a capital offence.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the three respondents, their agents and any other deriving authority from the federal Republic of Nigeria was granted in favour of Sanusi against his investigation, arrest, harrassment and any form of I’ll treatment.
A sum of N10M was awarded to the former Emir as damages to be paid to him by the respondents.
The court also issued an order directing the respondents to tender public apology to Sanusi to be published in two major national dailies for the embarrassment caused him in the cause of breaching his fender mental human rights.
Respondents in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/357/2020 are the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Attorney General (AG) of Kano State and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) but the name of the AGF was struck out on the ground that no case was made against the office.
“From the totality of this suit, the AGF has no hand in the deposition and subsequent banishment and ought not to have been made a party in this matter”
Sanusi’s lead lawyer had in his final submission told the court that the case was not a chieftaincy matter, because his client was not challenging his deposition.
He had argued that his client’s complaint was about the violation of his fundamental rights in relation to the manner he was shabbily treated after he was deposed.
“This is not a chieftaincy matter. The applicant (Sanusi) is not challenging the respondents’ action as regard his removal as Emir of Kano, but the way he was bundled to Abuja and banished to a remote location,” the counsel said.
He added that it is not in doubt that Sanusi, as a prominent citizen of this country, was shabbily treated in the manner he was bundled to Abuja and subsequently banished to a remote location.
The lawyer faulted the respondents’ challenge to the Abuja court’s jurisdiction to hear the case, arguing that no law supports the position that where rights violation occur across several jurisdictions, one cannot approach a court in any of the jurisdictions.
He also argued that it was clear from the way his client was treated that his rights were violated in Kano, Abuja and Nasarawa and as such, he is entitled to seek protection from the court.
Responding, lawyer to the IGP, Victor Okoye argued otherwise. He faulted the competence of the suit and queried the Abuja court’s jurisdiction to hear it.
Okoye, in challenging the jurisdiction of the court, noted that the instrument conveying the ex-Emir’s banishment was authored and endorsed by an official of the Kano State Government in Kano State.
He argued that the appropriate venue for Sanusi to seek redress for the alleged violation of his rights was a court in Kano State.
Okoye urged the court to either strike the case out or dismiss it.
Lawyer to the DG of the SSS, Godwin Agbadua argued in similar manner and also challenged the court’s jurisdiction.
Agbadua urged the court to strike out the suit on the grounds that the alleged rights violation occurred in Kano, adding that there is a Federal High Court in Kano, before which Sanusi could seek redress.
“Where there are infringement in sequence, the court with jurisdiction is that where the alleged infringement commenced, which by the applicant’s affidavit, is Kano and there is a Federal High Court in Kano,” Agbadua added.
Lawyer to the Attorney General of Kano State, Musa Mohammed (the Director of Civil Litigation of the state’s Ministry of Justice) equally faulted the competence of the suit and the jurisdiction of the court in Abuja to hear the case.
Mohammed prayed the court to dismiss the suit.
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