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KANO EMIRATE: Lawyers differ on status of Emirate Law, as court nullifies rethronment of Sanusi

KANO EMIRATE: Lawyers differ on status of Emirate Law, as court nullifies rethronment of Sanusi

The Kano division of the Federal High Court in Nigeria, on Thursday, voided the rethronment of Muhammadu Sanusi II as Emir of Kano, saying it was done in deliberate violation of a court order.

Justice A.S. Liman, who gave the ruling, said the nullification of Sanusi’s rethronment was imperative given the fact it was done in violation of the court order that stopped it.

The court came down heavily on Kano State governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, for disregarding the court order and going ahead to act in deliberate contravention of the order, saying it was contemptuous.

READ ALSO: Federal Court orders Police, DSS to stop reinstatement of Muhammadu Sanusi as Emir of Kano

Justice Liman clarified that the suit was not about the deposition or appointment of any emir, adding that his ruling concerned whether the state governor was aware of the order that stopped the operationalisation of the Kano Emirate Repeal Law before he went ahead to rethrone Sanusi.

He concluded that, based on the affidavit evidence before him, which was not controverted, the governor was aware of the order but decided to disregard it.

He said as of the time the governor became aware of the order to maintain status quo, only his assent has been given to the law, and that the governor was supposed to have stopped there without going ahead to rethrone Sanusi as he did. He said no one is allowed to disobey an order of the court even if he believes it to be wrong.

He said the case of Mobil v Hassan cited by the applicants, which none of the respondents responded to, was the effect that a party who’s served with or becomes aware of a court order is bound to obey it.

The judge based his belief that the governor was aware of the order on an affidavit deposed to by the applicant, which was supported by a video and transcription, where the governor was shown to be saying the order was obtained by ‘wicked people’ and that it was made ‘from abroad’.

READ ALSO: Why federal court assumed jurisdiction in Kano emirship suit 

Justice Liman said he was satisfied that the respondents are in disobedience to the court and will not hesitate to return to parties to the status quo.

Status of Kano State Emirates Councils (Repeal) Law, 2024

Concerning the status of the Kano State Emirates Councils (Repeal) Bill, 2024, Justice Liman’s Thursday pronouncement was understood differently by lawyers from the two sides of the lawsuit.

On the side of the respondents, Abdulkadir Maude Minjibir, said the judge affirmed that the law was valid, as it has been passed and assented prior to the court order stopping its operationalisation.

READ ALSO: KANO EMIRSHIP: NBA queries lawyers over ex-parte orders, as service failure stalls Tuesday hearing

According to him, only the operationalisation of the law of the law by the governor was declared null and void by the court, but the law itself remains valid and subsisting.

But Bashiru Ibrahim said though Justice Liman agreed that the law had been passed before the restraining court order, he did not pronounce on its validity or otherwise. He said that may form part of the pronouncement that the judge to which the case was transferred will make.

According to him, the law has been caught up by the doctrine of “Lis pendis” from the pronoucement of the court.

In legal parlance, Lis pendis means a lawsuit is pending over a matter.

Case transfer, appeal and stay of proceedings

Justice Liman transferred the continuous hearing of the case to Justice Simon Amobeda due to the fact that he (Liman) has been elevated the Court of Appeal.

But even Justice Amobeda will not immediately continue the hearing until the appeal filed by the respondents on the jurisdiction of the court has been heard and determined by the Court of Appeal.

Implication of ruling

A Kano-based legal analysts has opined that “the implication of Justice Liman’s ruling was that both Sanusi II and Aminu Ado Bayero are in a state of legal suspension, and that the position of Emir of Kano remains effectively vacant pending the outcome of the appeal.

“The final resolution will come from the Court of Appeal, where the legal battle will continue. No actions can be enforced until this higher court delivers its judgment.

“In essence, while Sanusi II remains in the official residence of the emir at Kofar Kudu, his position is not legally confirmed due to the court’s voiding of his rethronement. “

READ ALSO: Kano governor bans public protests over emirship tussle

Another Kano-based lawyer said “Aminu is now the emir if status quo is reverted to the time prior to the rethronment of Sanusi as the court has ordered.

“The order was clear that the law should not be given any effect, and that order is still subsisting according to the judge in today’s ruling. Also, since the law that purportedly sacked Aminu Bayero is being challenged and the court has not given its judgement, Aminu cannot be said to have been removed by that law.”

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