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Kano emirate tussle: Federal, industrial courts lack jurisdiction on chieftaincy matters – Falana

Human Rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana stated on Tuesday that the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court lack the…

Human Rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana stated on Tuesday that the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court lack the jurisdiction to adjudicate chieftaincy matters.

In a personally signed statement on Tuesday, Falana criticized both courts for separately granting themselves jurisdiction in such cases, calling these decisions “highly erroneous” and unjustifiable under sections 251 and 254(C) of the Constitution.

He added that these rulings contradict Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judgments on the subject.

Falana referenced the Federal High Court’s involvement in disputes related to the deposition of Emir Ado Bayero and the restoration of Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as a blatant disregard of the Supreme Court’s decision in the notable case of Tukur v. Government of Gongola State (1987) 4 NWLR (117) 517.

In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to be an emir is not a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution, and therefore, the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction over such matters.

He explained, “The intervention of the Federal High Court in the dispute arising from the deposition of Emir Ado Bayero & Co. and the restoration of Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is a brazen repudiation of the Supreme Court’s decision in Tukur v. Government of Gongola State.

“The right to be Emir is not guaranteed by the Fundamental Rights provisions of the Constitution, and the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction in the matter. The Court of Appeal was not in error of law to hold that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction to grant the two reliefs.”

A Federal High Court in Kano recently ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear a human rights violation case filed by the dethroned Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, and senior councillor, Aminu Dan’agundi, following the reinstatement of Emir Muhammad Sanusi II.

The court issued an ex-parte order preventing Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano from reinstating Sanusi until a substantive suit against the reinstatement is resolved.

The order also opposed the abolition of the four emirates-Bichi, Gaya, Karaye, and Rano-under a previously passed bill by the state House of Assembly.

Falana argued, “Section 254(C)(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, does not confer jurisdiction on the National Industrial Court to hear and determine chieftaincy matters.

“However, a traditional ruler who was deposed by a state governor without fair hearing is not without legal redress.”

 

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