The Dethronement and Banishment of Mohammed Sanusi II: The Legality or Otherwise Through the Eye of the Constitution – Mubarak Tijani

0

On the 9th of March, 2020 the news of the dethronement of the Emir of Kano greeted the waves of the Nigerian air space. It was shocking not just for the dethronement but for his banishment to a village called Loko in Nassarawa State. This articles intends to analyze the Constitutionality or otherwise of the banishment of the former Emir of Kano.

It is not in doubt that, the supremacy of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended is not in doubt as the Constitution itself emphasize on same in section 1(1&3) when it provides that this Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. it provides further in subsection 3 that if any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

The banishment of the former Emir of Kano in the light of Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution as amended is nothing but an affront on the sanctity of the Constitution. Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution provides that every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law. (a) in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty; (b) by reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the fulfillment of any obligation imposed upon him by law; (c) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence, or to such extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal offence; (d) in the case of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years for the purpose of his education or welfare; (e) in the case of persons suffering from infectious or contagious disease, persons of unsound mind, persons addicted to drugs  or alcohol or vagrants, for the purpose of their care or treatment or the protection of the community; or (f) for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of any person into Nigeria or of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal from Nigeria of any person or the taking of proceedings relating thereto.

ALSO READ   Re: “The Judiciary as Alternative Electorate.” Awomolo’s Rejoinder to Sagay

It is therefore important to state that a Nigerian Citizen cannot be retrained or deprived of the above right except in accordance with procedure as laid down in the above section.  Also the provisions of section 41 of the 1999 Constitution as amended is apt when is stated that; Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.  (2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society- (a) imposing restrictions on the residence or movement of any person who has committed or is reasonably suspected to have committed a criminal offence in order to prevent him from leaving Nigeria; or (b) providing for the removal of any person from Nigeria to any other country to:- (i) be tried outside Nigeria for any criminal offence, or (ii) undergo imprisonment outside Nigeria in execution of the sentence of a court of law in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty: Provided that there is reciprocal agreement between Nigeria and such other country in relation to such matter. The Court have however given credence to the above section when it held in the case of AG & COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, KEBBI STATE v. JOKOLO & ORS (2013) LPELR-22349(CA) where the court held that “The Governor of Kebbi State has no right to act outside the clear and unambiguous provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (applicable in this case). Section 35 (1) of the said Constitution provides that every citizen of Nigeria is “entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty” except in the circumstances set out in subsections (a) to (f) thereof. Section 40 of the same Constitution provides that “every person is entitled to assemble freely and associate with other person”. On this issue at hand, Section 41(1) of the Constitution is germane and it provides thus: “41 – (1) Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.  (2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society- (a) imposing restrictions on the residence or movement of any person who has committed or is reasonably suspected to have committed a criminal offence in order to prevent him from leaving Nigeria; or (b) providing for the removal of any person from Nigeria to any other country to:- (i) be tried outside Nigeria for any criminal offence, or (ii) undergo imprisonment outside Nigeria in execution of the sentence of a court of law in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty: Provided that there is reciprocal agreement between Nigeria and such other country in relation to such matter. The appellant has not been able to show that the banishment of the 1st respondent from Gwandu Emirate in Kebbi State and his deportation to Obi in Nasarawa State were in accordance with the clear provisions of Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. The banishment and deportation from Kebbi State by the Governor of Kebbi State, on or about the 3rd June, 2005 of the 1st respondent to Lafia in Nasarawa State and later to Obi, also in Nasarawa State, is most unconstitutional, and illegal. By the said banishment and deportation, the 1st respondent has been unduly and wrongfully denied his Constitutional rights “to respect for the dignity of his person”; “to freely and associate other persons” – including the people of Gwandu Emirate of Kebbi State; and to reside in any part thereof” as respectively provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999”.

It is important to state that, the supposed banishment of Mohammed Sanusi II from Kano State to Loko in Nasarawa State is not only an illegality but an act that is void ab initio. The society must rise and to the protection of the Constitution as it remains the only grundnorm guiding the affairs of our Nation and same must be strictly adhered to. It is hoped that, the former Emir will challenge his banishment in court.

ALSO READ   Busola Dakolo: Beyond Criminal & Civil Actions for Rape and Other Sexual Offences - Elvis E. Asia

Mubarak Tijani Esq, writes in from Abuja and can be reached via tijanimubaraklaw@gmail.com.  

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here