Top Stories

May 30, 2024

Emirship tussle: NBA fumes as CJN summons FHC, Kano CJs over conflicting orders

Emirship tussle

•NBA demands probe of Judges, lawyers for misconduct
•Gov bans public demonstrations, order arrest of defaulters
•We won’t spare violators — Police
•Refrain from unguarded statements, NSCIA tells Ulamas

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri & Bashir Bello

ABUJA—DISTURBed by the spate of conflicting orders trailing the ongoing emirship tussle Kano, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, yesterday summoned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho and the Chief Judge of Kano State High Court, Justice Dije Aboki for an emergency meeting.

The CJN directed the two heads of courts to appear at his Chambers at the Supreme Court complex, today.

This came as the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, described as embarrassing to the judiciary, the conflicting orders emanating from different courts over the stool of the Emir of Kano.

The CJN through a statement by the Director of Information at the National Judicial Council, NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, said the meeting, which “is a prelude to whole scale investigation by the NJC, is to enable the CJN to have a proper briefing “on this very disturbing development by the two respective Chief Judges.”

“There is strong indication that the National Judicial Council will conduct an emergency meeting next week where the subject Judges are likely to be invited and subjected to serious investigations.”

NBA fumes

On its part, the NBA decried the conduct of counsel and the Courts in the handling of the proceedings which culminated in the orders issued by the FHC, the KSHC and demanded the immediate probe of both judges and the lawyers involved in the cases that occasioned the conflicting court orders.

NBA in a statement by its President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, read: “I have keenly followed the developments on the recent events concerning the stool of the Emir of Kano.

“I must say, without any equivocation, that the conducts of counsel and the Courts in the handling of the proceedings which culminated in the orders issued by the Federal High Court, the Kano State High Court and again the Federal High Court, in circus, have brought utter disgrace and shame to the profession – have exposed the entire legal profession in Nigeria to public ridicule and opprobrium.
“The damage is one that would take the legal profession a long time to recover from. It is unfortunate and was totally uncalled for.

“For a country whose legal resources and expertise have for several decades been exported and positively impacted not only the African continent but the world at large, it is completely unacceptable that the processes of our courts would be deployed in the manner we have witnessed in the last couple of days, on a subject matter that is as clear as chieftaincy dispute.

“This is a subject that has been sufficiently dealt with by legislation and case law, leaving no one confused about the jurisprudence on the subject – both procedural and substantive.

“Without prejudice to the subsisting actions before both the Federal High Court and the Kano State High Court, it is my considered view that there is an urgent need to scrutinize the professional conducts of both Counsel and the Judges involved in these matters.

“This is to enable the relevant bodies or institutions to determine their culpability or otherwise, from an ethical and professional standpoint.

“I therefore call on the respective heads of the Courts of the Judges concerned, to take immediate steps to look into their conducts with the view to finding any possible abuse of their judicial offices and file a report with the National Judicial Council for necessary action.

“The NBA on the other hand will investigate the conduct of the counsel involved in these cases and shall not hesitate to commence disciplinary action against them before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, should there be any finding of alleged professional misconduct against them.

“The Chairman of the NBA Ethics and Disciplinary Committee has accordingly been directed to invite these counsel for preliminary investigations.

“While the NBA shall continue to stand for and protect the integrity, welfare, and independence of the Bar and the Judiciary, we shall not hesitate to call out any Judge or counsel, who engages in any conduct that is capable of bringing the legal profession to disrepute.

“I have consistently maintained that the institution of the Judiciary must be guarded jealously by all (both within and outside the legal profession) including the other arms of Government (Executive and Legislature), because the existence, peace, growth, development of any nation is intricately connected with the primary responsibility of the judiciary which is the dispensation of Justice.

“Sheikh Othman DanFodiyo was reported to have said – ‘a people can exist without religion but they cannot exist without justice.’

“Let us quit being religious as a people and begin to search for God and Justice for the people, in order to attain the peace we must all desire for the benefit of our nation.

“The legal profession as a whole (Bench and Bar) must at all times, resist any attempt to compromise its independence, as when this is allowed, we will fail in our noble call and assignment of providing direction to the people and advancing the cause of our nation within the confines of the rule of law.
“The respect, in which the legal profession in any country is held, is the best indicator of the freedom enjoyed by that country.

“We must therefore bring erring members of the profession to book to regain the respect we must have to lead Nigeria to its pride of place in the comity of nations.”

Gov orders arrest of protesters

Meanwhile, Governor Abba Yusuf of the state has banned public demonstrations and ordered the security agencies to arrest and prosecute any defaulters.

The governor in a statement by his Spokesperson, Sanusi Bature, said Governor Yusuf had imposed stringent restrictions on all public gatherings intended for protest within the state, exercising the authority vested in him as the chief security officer of the state.

According to the statement “By virtue of his position, the governor has directed the Police, the Directorate of State Security Services, DSS, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, to apprehend, detain, and prosecute any individual or group partaking in demonstrations on the streets of Kano.

“This decisive action is a preemptive strategy aimed at averting any potential breakdown of law and order orchestrated by adversaries of the state.

“We are privy to credible intelligence indicating that certain prominent figures from the opposition party in Kano have devised plans to sponsor student associations and political agitators from other northwestern states to incite chaos under the guise of advocating the dethroned Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero.

“The state government has explicitly outlawed protests, demonstrations, or processions of any kind, and individuals found on the streets of Kano engaging in such activities will be promptly apprehended.
“Through this declaration, we caution student groups against being manipulated by troublemakers who are resolute in fomenting disorder in Kano.”

Riot act to violators

Sequel to the governor’s directive, the state Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Gumel, has vowed that the command will not spare anyone found violating the ban on protests in the state.

In a statement by the spokesperson of the command, SP Abdullahi Haruna, the CP said violators would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The statement reads: “CP Gumel Calls on Kano State residents to remain patriotic and obey the Kano State Government order which was issued this Morning 29/05/2024 that put ban on all forms of unlawful gatherings, protests or processions.

“The Police Command in Kano State will ensure the state government order that bans all forms of protests is being implemented with all sense of vigor as any person found will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.

“Already, armed personnel have since been deployed to identify flash points in and outside the Metropolis and are poised to deal with any form of violation and other unforeseen circumstances.

“In the same vein, the Police Command has placed its fully kitted, equipped and motivated personnel on ‘red alerts’ to ruthlessly deal with the situation as any form of security threats in the State would not be tolerated.

“On this note, the CP calls on the law-abiding people of the State to remain patriotic, obey the Kano State Government order, maintain calmness and avoid any other form of unlawful activities that may trigger violence as joint security forces have been dispatched to strategic locations to safeguard the peace and order throughout the State.

“Furthermore, the Police Command is hereby reminding members of the public that the position of the law remained very clear as whoever attempts to disrupt the peace in the State will be arrested and made to face full wrath of the law,” the statement, however, read.

Mind your utterances

Reacting to the escalating tension over the tussle, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, has cautioned Kano State Ulamas to refrain from unguarded statements on the controversy surrounding the Kano Emirate tussle that could aggravate tension and further polarize people of the state.

A statement on behalf of the Council’s Secretary-General, by Prof. Salisu Shehu, among others, called on the Ulamas to allow the Kano political, judicial and customary authorities to resolve the issue, saying “the NSCIA has noticed the contradictory statements emanating from some quarters of the Ulama in Kano concerning the current traditional leadership crisis in the state.

“At this trying period for the Ummah, the Council calls on Islamic scholars, who are custodians of Islamic learning, values and guidance, to exercise caution and refrain from making statements that can further exacerbate tension and polarise the Ummah. Ulama within and outside the state should prayerfully allow the current traditional leadership conflict in Kano, to be handled and resolved by the political, judicial and customary authorities.

“Meanwhile, the Council calls on Kano’s political, traditional and judicial authorities to resolve the current issue with the fear of Allah, fairness and justice.

“The Council calls on the people of Kano to sincerely call on Allah, remain calm and avoid taking laws into their hands.”

Abolishing 5 emirates is a setback

Also reacting, a worried stakeholder said abolishing five emirates by the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, government in the state is a set back to the progress and development of the emirates.

The stakeholder, Musa Doguwa, among others, said “The decision to amend the regressive emirate law by the State Assembly members and hastily assented to by the current Governor Abba Yusuf is a significant setback to the progress and development of the emirates. This move not only stripped us of our heritage and potential for growth but also threatened to reverse the positive trajectory that had been set in motion by the previous administration.

“The actions taken by the previous administration, based on extensive consultations and due process, reflect a commitment to the well-being and progress of the emirates. The sudden removal of our respected emirs without just cause or due process is a grave injustice that must be rectified.”