Justice Anwuli Chikere of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday ruled that there is no provision in the nation’s Constitution that where a traditional ruler is dethroned, he should be banished to another place.
She therefore declared as 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 restriction placed on Sanusi after his deposition on March 9, 2020 was a violation of his right to freedom of movement and personal liberty.
Justice Chikere agreed with Sanusi’s counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), 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 the Kano State Government, the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services except with express order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
The judge subsequently voided Sanusi’s arrest, detention, harassment and banishment.
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 being unlawful.
Justice Chikere agreed with Fagbemi that the country’s constitution is the supreme law and that any law which runs contrary to its provisions must not be allowed to stand.
The judge ruled, “Fundamental 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 commits a capital offence.”
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the three respondents, their agents and any other deriving authority was granted in favour of Sanusi against his investigation, arrest, harassment and any form of ill 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 fundamental human rights.
Respondents in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/357/2020 are the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the DSS, Attorney General of Kano State and the Attorney General of the Federation, but the name of the AGF was struck out on the grounds that no case was made against the office.