The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss a suit filed by the deposed Kano emir, Muhammadu Sanusi, over his banishment.
Adamu in his preliminary objection, is arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the fundamental rights enforcement suit.
Sanusi was deposed following a resolution of the Kano State Executive Council on March 9, on allegations of insubordination.
Following his sack, he was taken to Awe in Nasarawa State and detained in an apartment in the town until March 13 when he obtained an interim order of the court for his release from house arrest.
The deposed emir in the substantive suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/357/2020 through his lead lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, contested that his banishment and subsequent house arrest violated his right to freedom of movement, among others.
Many Nigerian lawyers condemned the dethronement and banishment of the emir to Nasarawa, saying he was not granted fair hearing before the dethronement and as such banishment violates his freedom of movement.
But the IGP, who is the first respondent, is challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit, contending that the rights violation complained of by Sanusi followed his dethronement which took place in Kano.
Adamu argued that Kano ought to be the appropriate venue for Sanusi to file the suit and not Abuja.
He stated that, “the alleged infringement of the fundamental right of the applicant in this suit (Sanusi) is only ancillary to the dethronement of the applicant as the Emir of Kano, which is a matter within the jurisdiction of the High Court of a state.
“It is crystal clear from all the processes filed by the applicant that the facts that gave rise to this case arose from Kano State, where the applicant was dethroned as the Emir and flown to Abuja enroute Nasarawa State.
“It is our submission that coming into Abuja was only as a mere passage to their actual destination, which is Nasarawa State, and as such, Abuja cannot, by any stretch of reasoning, be said to be the place where the infringement occurred.”
Adamu added that the dethronement “which led to his banishment was a chieftaincy matter that only state High Court and not the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to hear”.
But in a counter-affidavit, the deposed emir faulted the IGP’s contention insisting that his suit was not about his dethronement “but his family’s forceful ejection from the palace and banishment from Kano and subsequent confinement.”
Sanusi argued that the infringement of his fundamental rights was not limited to Kano “but was a continuous process that spanned three territories – Kano, Abuja and Nasarawa”.
“The nucleus or gravamen of the applicant’s complaint is centrally on the violations of the applicant’s fundamental rights and there is no or any other complaints therein.
“The claim of the applicant, as presently constituted, does not have any colouration of a chieftaincy matter as alleged by the first respondent. The applicant is not challenging his deposition in this case,” the former Central Bank of Nigeria governor argued.
The judge, Anwuli Chikere, has fixed October 20 for hearing.