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Sokoto govt still targeting Sultan, MURIC raises fresh alarm

Despite the denial of the Sokoto State government on the reported plan to depose the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Muslim…

Despite the denial of the Sokoto State government on the reported plan to depose the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has insisted that the the Sultan is still being targeted for deposition.

Prof. Ishaq Akintola, Executive Director, of MURIC, said this in a statement, on Wednesday.

He said a bill called Sokoto Emirate Council Amendment Bill has passed through the first and second readings and if passed into law, the Sultan of Sokoto will be stripped of certain powers.

This is coming on the heels of MURIC allegation that the Sokoto State Governor Aliyu is planning to depose the Sultan and Vice President Kashim Shettima’s comment urging the government to rather protect and promote the institution of the Sultanate.
The Sokoto State government has, however, denied such plan.

Akintola said the amendment is condemnable as an attempt to diminish the influence of the Sultan.

He said it is the section of the chieftaincy law which empowers the governor to remove the Sultan that should be amended.

“There are reports that the Sokoto State House of Assembly is currently rushing through a bill which it called Emirate Council Amendment Bill. The bill has passed through the first and second readings within a very short period.”

“If passed into law, the Sultan of Sokoto will be stripped of certain powers including that of appointing the kingmakers and district heads without government approval. This bill is outrageous, nauseating and anachronistic. It is a direct attack on the traditional institution of Sokoto State. Instead of entrenching the powers of the Sultan, it is an undisguised attempt at weakening his powers and making him less relevant in the scheme of traditional settings,” Akintola said.

He said that the governor is preparing the ground for dismantling the Sultanate Council and setting up his own personal Sultanate Council, that will be totally controlled from government house.

The MURIC boss said this is the only logical explanation for the governor’s removal of 15 traditional rulers in a single day.

He said, “(Governor) Ahmed Aliyu is exhibiting the symptoms of fascism, totalitarianism and prebendalism. Nigerian Muslims are already asking, ‘Why the rush?’ Why are they rushing the bill if there is no hidden agenda? The whole exercise is suggestive of political motivation.

“The governor is barely one year in office and he has removed 15 traditional rulers. How many will he remove by the time he spends four years? That is reckless. It is acrobatic administrative reform at breakneck speed. The governor needs to slow down.

“Were the offences of those 15 traditional rulers who were removed ever published? Were they given the chance to defend themselves? Were the reports of the investigations made public in order to conform with democratic norms and global best practices?”

Akintola said that if these were not done, the deposition of the 15 traditional rulers must be revisited, proper investigation by a non-partisan panel and the publication of the panel’s findings.

“The state government came out yesterday to deny any plan to remove the Sultan but we can all see what it is doing secretly now. What explanation does the governor have for the sudden interest in hijacking the Sultanate Council?

“This is further evidence that Governor Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto State is deceiving Nigerian Muslims. It is a manifestation of a strange crave for absolute power. MURIC calls the attention of Sokoto lawmakers to this disturbing development. What the good people of Sokoto State need now is a stable Sultanate Council. That is our pride. An ever-swinging traditional pendulum will cause fluctuation of values and norms. The citizens will experience blurred vision, nightmarish dreams and scattered goals,” Akintola said.

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