Nigeria’s emir of Kano dethroned for ‘disrespect’

Muhammadu Sanusi II is a former governor of Nigeria’s central bank

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, one of Nigeria’s most influential Muslim leaders, has been removed from office.

He was deposed after acting in “total disrespect to lawful instructions from the office of the state governor,” the Kano state government said.

Mr Sanusi, a former governor of Nigeria’s central bank, has had frosty relations with the Kano state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, since 2017.

He has not commented on his removal.

Why was he sacked?

The government said he was removed “in order to safeguard the sanctity, culture, tradition, religion and prestige of the Kano Emirate,” accusing the emir of “total disrespect” of institutions and the governor’s office.

Since the emir and governor fell out, Mr Sanusi has not attended state functions and official meetings, which the government said amounted to “total insubordination”.

The BBC’s Mansur Abubakar in Kano said the emir’s refusal to appear before a panel investigating allegations of corruption against him did not go down well with the government.

He is accused of selling landed property and mismanagement of emirati funds but he secured a court order stopping the probe.

His supporters believe he was sacked for opposing the governor’s re-election last year.

They point to the governor’s splitting of the Kano emirate into five and appointment of four more emirs, as proof that he was out to weaken Mr Sanusi’s influence.

Mr Sanusi has used his position as emir to speak out on issues peculiar to northern Nigeria and his outspokenness has upset some politicians.

Recently, he said fathers who sent their children out to beg for alms should be arrested and in the past he criticised what he described as the “ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam” in some parts of northern Nigeria that has discouraged girl-child education, family planning and other progressive policies.

Who is Mr Sanusi?

Born into the Fulani royal family, Lamido Sanusi became the 14th Emir of Kano in 2014 after the death of former ruler Ado Bayero.

He described the post, which carries enormous weight among Nigeria’s northern Muslims, as a life-long ambition.

Sanusi Lamido
As emir, Mr Sanusi has been criticised for been heard rather than been seen

As emir, he occupied a throne stretching back hundreds of years and was seen as the political leader of northern Nigeria’s millions of Muslims.

In the mid-1990s he quit a well-paid job as banking risk manager to deepen his knowledge of Arabic and Islamic studies by going to study in Sudan.

He is a man who never shies away from controversy.

Long before he became emir, he opposed the adoption of Islamic law in some northern states, arguing that there were more pressing issues that needed to be dealt with.

But it was as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria that he gained notoriety.

His whistle-blowing over $20bn (£12bn) allegedly missing from the state oil company caused a storm that led to his suspension by then President Goodluck Jonathan. The government denied that any money was missing.

Mr Sanusi challenged the suspension in court but was still sacked from the role. He later withdrew the court case.

Critics say he has a holier-than-thou attitude that makes him fall out with authorities, and wonder why he refused to appear before the panel investigating corruption allegations against him.

They also say that he has broken the tradition of an emir being seen, rather than heard.

Source: BBC

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