The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss a suit filed by the deposed Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, challenging his banishment.
In his preliminary objection, the IGP argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the fundamental rights enforcement suit.
The Kano State Government had on March 9, 2020 deposed Sanusi after which security agents moved him to Abuja.
He was later banished to Awe, Nasarawa State, where he was detained in a private home until March 13 when he obtained an interim order of the court for his release from house arrest.
In the substantive suit, Sanusi, through his lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), contended that his banishment and subsequent house arrest violated his right to freedom of movement, among others.
Challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the substantive suit, the IGP, however, contended that the rights violation complained of by Sanusi followed his dethronement which took place in Kano, which he argued ought to be the appropriate venue to file the suit and not Abuja.
He stated, “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.”
The IGP 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 Sanusi, in a counter-affidavit, faulted the IGP’s contention insisting that his suit was not about his dethronement but his family’s forceful ejection from the palace and their banishment from Kano and subsequent confinement.
He 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.
His lawyer argued, “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 1st respondent. The applicant is not challenging his deposition in this case.”