By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Friday, ordered that the dethroned Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, should be granted his freedom.
The court, in a ruling by Justice Anwuli Chikere, held that Sanusi who was deposed as Emir by the Kano State government last Monday and forcefully taken to Awe in Nasarawa State where he was confined, is entitled to his constitutionally guaranteed rights to personal liberty and movement.
The ruling followed an ex-parte application the dethroned Emir filed through his team of lawyers led by Prince Lateef Farteagbemi, SAN, on Thursday.
Cited as respondents in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/357/2020, are the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of the Department of State Service, the Attorney-General of Kano State and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Meanwhile, Justice Chikere fixed March 26 to hear Sanusi’s substantive suit against the Respondents.
The dethroned Emir had on Thursday, approached the court to enforce his fundamental human rights.
He specifically prayed the court to order his release from “the detention and or confinement of the respondents and restoring the applicant’s rights to human dignity, personal liberty, freedom of association and movement in Nigeria, (apart from Kano State) pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s originating summons.”
The Applicant anchored his request on section 34, 35, 40, 41 and 46 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and Order 4 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules.
He also sought for an order granting him leave to effect service of the court order alongside the Originating motion and subsequent processes on all the Respondents, through substituted means, by allowing the processes to be delivered to any officer in the office of the Respondents.
In the alternative, Sanusi, sought for leave to publish the processes in at least one national newspaper.
He said: “Considering the status of the Respondents, it would be difficult to effect personal service on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents unless his application is granted.
“1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents will have knowledge of the originating motion for the enforcement of the Applicant’s fundamental right, if they are served by substituted means as stated on the motion paper.
“Applicant’s fundamental right to life, human dignity, personal liberty and movement are seriously under challenge and continually being breached by the Respondents.
“Exceptional hardship shall be caused to the Applicant before the service and hearing of the originating motion for the enforcement of his fundamental right.
“That 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents would not be prejudiced if this application is granted and it is in the interest of justice to grant this application”, he added.
The Kano State government had accused Sanusi of disloyalty, alleging that he disrespected its authority and absented himself from meetings without cogent reasons.
Sanusi was initially banished to Loko village in Nasarawa State after his dethronement, but later moved to Awe town.
Though the dethroned Emir had since accepted his fate as the will of God, he, however, went to court to challenge the legality of his confinement in Nasarawa state.