Monday Ubani, a former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has described as illegal, the banishment of the dethroned emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, to Nasarawa State.
Read Also: Nobody’ll Be Allowed To Speak With Sanusi, Says Nasarawa Monarch
In a telephone interview with Newsbreak, Ubani said there is no such law under Nigeria’s democracy that allows banishment. He added that it is against the “spirit and letter of the 1999 constitution as amended.”
The legal luminary however said he is not against the deposition since Abdullahi Ganduje, the state governor, acted within the laws of the state.
Sanusi was banished to Nasarawa State after he was dethroned on Monday. He was taken away by the police to the airport where he flew to Abuja, before traveling to Nasarawa by road.
Read Also: Sanusi’s Bluntness, Involvement In Politics Cost Him Traditional Stool – Don
He arrived Loko in the early hours of Tuesday before he was transferred to Awe Local Government, said to be a better place for a former monarch.
Like Ubani, another lawyer, Kayode Akano said the banishment is wrong. He said although it is nothing new in the country, it is illegal.
Pius Sodje told Newsbreak that Sanusi may go to court to challenge the banishment. He said the constitution must be respected as it supersedes any law in the land.
Another lawyer, Joseph Popoola, said the Obas and Chiefs law of Kano State must be examined. He said if banishment is included in the law, then it is legal to banish Sanusi.
He however said the banishment would not be binding on him since he was dethroned, making him an ordinary citizen, before banishment.
Read Also: Sanusi Moved To ‘Better’ Village In Nasarawa
“So we need to check the Obas and Chiefs law of Kano State. But in another way, it is trampling on his fundamental human right. Somebody you have dethroned is no longer a traditional ruler, he has become an ordinary citizen,” he said.
Popoola said the banishment seemed a vendetta against the former emir.
Casmir Amadi, on his part, said Sanusi’s banishment is a ‘government policy’ and not included in the constitution. He said the governor had power to stop anything he perceives as a threat to his government.
He said although the banishment contradicts Chapter 4 of the constitution, it is important for a court to interpret it since it had some limitations.
“You could say every other law in this country derives its power from the constitution, and that the banishment contradicts his freedom of movement in the Chapter 4 of the constitution.
Read Also: We Won’t Pass Social Media Bill Without Nigerians’ Input – Lawan
“It is now left for the court to interpret it, because even that Chapter 4 still has some limitations. There are some things that you will do and Chapter 4 will not save you, there are certain boundaries you will cross and it will not save you.
“If you commit a crime and you are detained, that right in Chapter 4 is curtailed, so that is the constitution for you.
“But Sanusi can look at it and say have I done anything that this Chapter 4 will not save me?” he said.
A similar matter had happened in Kebbi State when the Emir of Gwandu, Mustapha Jokolo, was dethroned and banished by Governor Adamu Aliero in 2005 for allegedly making comments capable of threatening national security.
A Kebbi State High Court had ruled that Aliero’s actions contravened Section 35 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 which states 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.
Read Also: Man, 56, Arrested For Having Sex With 10-Year-Old Girl
It ruled that Section 40 of the same Constitution provides that “every person is entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons”. On the 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 thereto 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 Nigerian and such other country in relation to such matter.