Court assumes jurisdiction to hear Bayero’s rights violation suit

A Federal High Court sitting in Kano, has ruled that it has the jurisdiction to preside over the case of human rights violation brought by deposed Kano Emir, Aminu Ado Bayero, and a senior councillor, Aminu Babba DanAgundi, following the reinstatement of Emir Mohammadu Sanusi II.

The court had granted an ex-parte order stopping Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano from reinstating Sanusi, pending the determination of a substantive suit filed against his reinstatement.

The order also kicked against the abolishment of four emirates – Bichi, Gaya, Karaye, and Rano – in a bill earlier passed by the State House of Assembly.

It directed all parties involved to maintain status quo ante, pending the determination of the suit filed by Sarkin Dawaki Babba and Aminu Babba-Dan’Agundi.

Justice Liman granted leave to the Plaintiff/Applicant to issue and serve their concurrent originating motion as well as all other court processes on the 6th defendant, Inspector General of Police, IGP, in the Federal Capital Terrritory, FCT, Abuja, outside the jurisdiction of the court.

The other defendants in the suit are the Kano State Government, the Kano State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the State Assembly, the Kano State Commissioner of Police, the Inspector General of Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Department of State Security.

Justice Liman said all parties are ordered to maintain status quo ante in the passage and assent of the bill.

“That parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante pending hearing of the fundamental rights application.

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

“That in order to maintain the peace and security of the state, an Interim Injunction of this Honourable Court is granted restraining the respondents from enforcing, executing, implementing and operationalizing the Kano State Emirate Law Council (Repeal) Law.

“That parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante on the passage and assent of the bill into law, pending the hearing of the fundamental rights application.”

However, when case resumed on Thursday, Justice Liman, relying on Section 42 Sub-section 1 of the Constitution, said the court had powers of jurisdiction to hear the case.

The judge noted, “What I find intriguing is the respondents’ total reliance on the case of Gongola, whereas Section 42 Sub-section 1 of the Constitution has clearly spelt out the jurisdictional powers of the Federal High Court to preside over such cases.

“My respectful view is that the case of Tukur against Gongola is indistinguishable with the present case. Section 42 Sub-section 1 and Section 32 of the Constitution has vested powers in our court to decide on this matter.”

In continuation of the case, the plaintiff counsel, Barrister Chukwuson Ojukwu, argued that the matter was ripe for hearing on the main issues of the invalidity of the reappointment of a new Emir, and the deposition of 15th Emir Aminu Ado Bayero.

But Barrister A. G Wakil insisted that the new motion seeking to continue hearing on the Chieftaincy Affairs issues was not part of the original summons and is a different application outside the matter of Human Rights Violation and the jurisdictional powers of the court, which the court had decided.

The judge explained that the matter was adjourned to Thursday, 13th June 2024, for only ruling and nothing else.

Justice Liman thereafter adjourned the case to 14th June, 2024, noting that the matter was too sensitive to linger.

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