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Federal court insists it has jurisdiction to hear deposed Emir Bayero’s rights violation suit

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The Federal High Court in Kano has affirmed its jurisdiction to hear the case filed by Aminu Ado Bayero, the deposed Emir of Kano, and Aminu Babba DanAgundi, a senior councillor, alleging human rights violations following Emir Mohammadu Sanusi II’s reinstatement.

Persecondnews recalls that the court had previously issued a temporary restraining order on Gov. Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State from reinstating Emir Mohammadu Sanusi II until a further hearing and final decision on the lawsuit challenging Sanusi’s reinstatement.

The court’s order also prohibited the dissolution of the four newly established emirates—Bichi, Gaya, Karaye, and Rano—which were created pursuant to a bill earlier passed by the Kano State House of Assembly.

The court instructed all parties involved to maintain the original state of affairs, as it existed before the reinstatement of Emir Sanusi II and the creation of the new emirates, until the court reaches a final decision on the lawsuit filed by Sarkin Dawaki Babba and Aminu Babba-Dan’Agundi.

Justice Liman granted permission to the Plaintiff/Applicant to serve the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the 6th defendant, with legal documents, including the concurrent originating motion and other court papers, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, which is outside the court’s geographical jurisdiction.

The other parties named in the lawsuit include the Kano State Government, the Kano State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Kano State Police Commissioner, the Inspector General of Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and the Department of State Services (DSS).

Justice Liman ordered all parties to maintain the existing situation and not take any further action regarding the passage and approval of the bill, effectively putting a hold on the legislation until further court proceedings.

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

“That in order 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.”

On Thursday, when the case came up for hearing, Justice Liman, citing Section 42(1) of the Constitution, asserted that the court possesses the legal authority and jurisdiction to preside over the matter and hear the case.

The judge said: “What I find intriguing is the respondents’ total reliance on the 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 cases.

“My respectful view is that the case of Tukur against Gongola is indistinguishable with the present case. Section 42, Sub-section 1, and Section 32 of the Constitution have vested powers in our court to decide on this matter.”

Mr. Chukwuson Ojukwu, the plaintiff’s lawyer, informed the court that the central issues of the case, specifically the legality of reappointing a new emir and the removal of Bayero from his position as the 15th emir, were now ready for hearing.

Mr. A.G. Wakil, defence counsel, countered that the initial summons did not include the new motion, which aims to proceed with the Chieftaincy Affairs hearing.

He said the motion is a separate application that falls outside the scope of the original case, which focused on human rights violations and the court’s jurisdictional powers, a matter already decided.

The judge clarified that the case was previously adjourned until Thursday, June 13, 2024, solely for the purpose of delivering a ruling and no other proceedings.

However, Justice Liman subsequently adjourned the case again until June 14, 2024, acknowledging the sensitivity of the matter and the need for expedience to avoid prolonging the issue unnecessarily.

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