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Court nullifies Kano Emirate law

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A Federal High Court in Kano has nullified all actions by the state government repealing the Kano Emirates Council Law of 2019.

In a ruling on Thursday, Justice Muhammad Liman ordered parties to maintain the status quo.

Justice Liman held that the defendants were aware of an interim order previously granted by the court but ignored it and implemented the law.

The judge said he would assume his coercive powers to enforce compliance with the court order.

However, the judge transferred the case to another Federal High Court judge, Justice Simon Amobeda, for continuation given his elevation to the Court of Appeal.

On 23 May, the state House of Assembly passed the amended bill, which the state governor, Mallam Abba Yusuf signed into law.

The law repealed the 2019 version, which divided the Kano Emirate into five jurisdictions and was relied upon to dethrone Muhammadu Sanusi as Emir in 2020.

On the same day, Sanusi was reinstated as Emir of Kano by kingmakers and the governor.

Aggrieved, Aminu Babba Dan Agundi and Sarkin Dawaki Babba of the Kano emirate approached the court to restrain the respondents from enforcing, implementing, and operationalising the law that reinstated Sanusi.

On 23 May, Justice Liman ordered the defendants to “suspend” and “not give effect to the Kano State Emirate Council (Repeal) Law, 2024, as they affect all offices and institutions of the Emirate Council created according to the provisions of the Kano State Emirate Council Law, 2019”.

The judge had ruled: “That parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante the passage and assent of the bill into law pending the hearing of the fundamental rights application.

“That in view of the constitutional and jurisdictional issues apparent on the face of the application, parties shall address the court on the same at the hearing of the fundamental rights application, which is fixed for the 3rd of June, 2024″.

Although the defendants had challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit and the locus standi of the applicants, Liman held that the applicants were at liberty to contest the legality of their dethronement.

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