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Dissecting Misinformation: 10 Things to Know After Court Ruling on Kano Emirate

The recent ruling of a Federal High Court on the Kano Emirate melee has caused many Nigerians to become confused about the ruling and the situation surrounding the Kano Emirate. 

The court’s ruling followed a legal suit filed by Aminu Babba Dan-Agundi, Sarkin Dawaki Babba, seeking to restrain the respondents from enforcing, implementing and operationalising the repealed Kano Emirate Law 2024, which brought back Muhammadu Sanusi II as 16th Emir of Kano. Respondents in the case include the Kano State Government, the Kano State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, and the Attorney General of Kano State. Others are the Commissioner of Police, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Department of State Services (DSS).

The court had earlier issued an interim injunction restraining the implementation of the 2024 Kano Emirate Council (repeal) law pending the substantive case. However, on June 20 this year, Judge Abdullahi Liman, in suit No FHiC/KN/CS/182/2024, ordered the Kano State Government and other parties locked in a scuffle to halt the implementation of the newly enacted Kano Emirate Council Law pending the substantive case. 

The ruling connotes wider implications for the emirate’s leadership and the legal and political landscape of Kano state and created room for supporters of the two contending brothers — Sanusi II and Bayero — to spread misinformation to woo their afterthought on the ruling.  Kano residents and stakeholders are uncertain and confused. They are also baffled by different conflicting interpretations of the ruling on social media — X (former Twitter) and Facebook. 

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Both the Kano government and Bayero’s camps gave conflicting interpretations of the ruling. For instance, the Kano government said the ruling favours them, which implies that Sanusi II is legally Kano emir and ordered the commissioner of police to remove Bayero from the Nasarawa mini palace. On the other hand, Aminu Danagundi, leader of Bayero’s camp, said the ruling means that Aminu Bayero is still Kano emir. Also, both Sanusi II and Bayero announced a planned Eid-el-Kabir durbar as separate emirs of Kano. Police later banned the proposed durbars. However, Sanusi II followed his plans and had the durbar last Eid-el-Kabir. 

Also, since the ruling, Sanusi II and Bayero have observed the palace council sessions separately every day. Bayero hoisted the coveted Sultan’s flag at the Nasarawa mini palace to indicate the validity of power. 

Some Kannywood actors amplify misinformation around two disputing Kano emirs. For Instance, Naziru Sarkin Waka, a popular Kannywood singer, posted a video affirming Sanusi’s Kano Emirship. The post attracted about 5,400 likes, 503 comments and 194 shares. On the other hand, Aminu Ladan Alan Waka, another well-known singer in the industry, held a freestyle concert at the Nasarawa mini-palace in support of Bayero.  

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An X user, MS Ingawa, tweeted that, considering the orders issued via the ruling, there is no emir for Kano Emirate and likely to force Governor Yusuf to make a fresh appointment for a new emir. Mr Ingawa’s post attracted about 76,300 views, 361 likes and 106 reposts. One of Ingawa’s followers, Tony, replied, 

“If this is correct, what if the governor reinstated him  (Sanusi II)  as the Emir of Kano again? Will it contravene the law?” Also, Mohammed confronted Mr Ingawa, thus, “People like you and others who shared this kind of propaganda, just because of your interests and intentions, must not be given a position of leadership. Hence, both SLS and Aminu Ado went to court & verdicts have been delivered. Why insinuations? Kano state is bigger than individuals.”

Another X user, Sambo Mai Hula, in a post that generated about 30,200 views, 485 likes, and 148 reposts, argued that, following the ruling, Aminu Bayero remains the valid emir of Kano. Countering Mai Hula, Suspect, said the court ruling completely deposed Bayero. Hence, he became “a former emir of Kano. Let him accept his fate and the ruling of the court.” 

Similarly, Gimbiya M amplified bewilderment about Mai Hula’s submission. She said, “I am still confused about the ruling because some people say Sanusi II is the emir while others say no, it is  Bayero. Help me out. I don’t want to become laughing stuff, please.” 

Also, X user Salisu Umar claimed that, based on the interpretation of the ruling given to him exclusively by an unnamed Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Bayero ceased to be the emir of Kano, Therefore, Sanusi II is the valid emir. 

“The court can’t set aside deposition. The law is valid. SAN further said, I don’t know Aminu’s end game, but this is Aminu’s futile exercise to finish,” he argued. 

Umar’s X post accumulated about 36,200 views, 161 likes, and 87 reposts.

One of the commentators on Umar’s post Real Nigerian, contented that Bayero has no chance of continuing as Kano Emir; he is only following the enemy’s bidding and script.  However, Loke countered saying that if valid, the purported argument of SAN isn’t the court’s final ruling. Hence, it cannot be binding on any party in the legal suit. 

Therefore, DUBAWA dissects the misinformation and ostensive confusion about critical aspects of the court ruling and other issues connected to the Kano emirate saga, taking into consideration their impacts and clarifying key issues. 

Nullification of Sanusi II’s Reinstatement

The ruling of the Federal High Court annulled the reinstatement of Muhammad Sanusi II as the 16th Emir of Kano.

“I hereby order that every step or action taken by the respondents under Kano Emirate Council Repeal Law 202 4 is null and void and is set aside,” the court ordered.

However, in their reaction to the ruling, the Kano government insisted that Sanusi II remain the valid emir of Kano. However, this does not render their disposition valid because the government disobeyed the initial order, restraining it from reappointing Sanusi.

Bayero’s Reinstatement 

In his ruling, the judge annulled all actions the Kano government took to reinstate Sanusi II, ordering all parties to maintain the status quo. 

“I hereby order that every step or action taken by the respondents in accordance with Kano Emirate Council Repeal Law 2024 is null and void and is set aside,” Justice Muhammad Liman declared. Giving an interpretation of the court’s ruling, a Kano-based legal practitioner, Abba Hikima said Aminu Ado Bayero, in the eyes of the law, remains the emir of Kano. “In the eyes of the law, the emir of Kano is Aminu Ado Bayero,” he explained. 

Violation and Conflicting Court Orders

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The ruling of the Federal High Court emphasised that the actions of the Kano State Government, including the reinstatement of Sanusi II, violated a previous order of the court mandating maintaining the status quo. 

“I think it is a very serious matter for anyone to flout the court’s orders and go scot-free with it,” Liman said.  The judge noted that the government was aware of this order but chose to disregard it, leading to the nullification. Similarly, the decision of the court has intensified the legal and political turmoil in Kano, with multiple contradictory court orders issued by different judges. For instance, on the same day, Justice S. Amobeda of the Federal High Court 3 ordered the eviction of Sanusi II from the Gidan Rumfa palace while Justice Amina Aliyu of the Kano State High Court barred the police from evicting Sanusi and restrained the dethroned emirs from parading themselves as emirs. In another order, Justice Amobeda awarded N10,000,000 damages to Bayero for the breach of his fundamental rights, personal liberty and freedom of movement against the Kano government. 

Validity of 2024 Kano Emirate Law

The Federal High Court’s ruling validated the Kano Emirate Council (repeal) Law 2024. “…This order does not affect the validity of the law,” the court declared. However, Hikima explained that this court order is valid pending the outcome of the final decision of the court concerning the propriety or otherwise of the law. 

Case Transferred

The case was transferred to another Federal High Court judge, Justice Simon Amobeda, to continue hearing the substantive case after the outcome of the Kano government’s appeal on the court’s jurisdiction to entertain traditional leadership matters. 

Appeal Plan 

The Kano State Government announced its intention to appeal the ruling of the Federal High Court. Commenting, Barrister Sani Tsanyawa said only a higher court can set aside the orders given by Federal High Court. Hence, parties can appeal if dissatisfied with the court’s ruling. 

Kano Emirate Laws Compared 

In 2019, APC National Chairman Abdullahi Ganduhe, serving as Kano State governor, signed the Kano State Emirate Law, which repealed the 1984 Kano Emirate Law. The 2019 law created four additional emirates — Rano, Bichi, Karaye and Gaya. About three years later, Ganduje signed the Kano State Emirate Amendment Law 2023. He had also assented to an amendment to the law in 2020. Hikima explained that the 2023 amended law has about 50 sections and more than 100 sub-sections detailing every bit of information about the Kano emir’s office and that of the four emirates. However, the 2024 Kano Emirates Council Law (repeal) contains about six sections only. Unlike the Kano State Emirate Amendment Law 2023, the 2024 law did not explain the corporate personality of the emirate — to sue and be sued — and it was silent about the financial apparatus of the Kano Emirate – account and budget – for instance.

Security Measures 

In response to the ruling, the Kano State Police Command reiterated the ban on public protests and gatherings to maintain peace and order. DUBAWA observed that since the court’s decision, the city has remained calm, with residents continuing their daily activities and security personnel deployed at key locations, including the palaces occupied by Sanusi and Bayero. Also, all thugs seen around both the main palace and mini palace were displaced by police.

Kannywood Members Fuel Misinformation 

Some Kannywood stars have played a significant role in amplifying misinformation about the Federal High Court’s ruling on the Kano emirate. Following the court’s decision, prominent Kannywood actors spread unverified claims and exaggerated narratives to social media. For instance, some produced a skit suggesting that the ruling favours Sanusi II while arguing that Bayero got the best out of the decision and is a valid emir. 

Political Clash 

The political conflict in the Kano Emirate tussle revolves around the contentious restructuring of the Kano Emirate, a move many perceive as politically motivated. Kano’s main political gladiators spread across APC and NNPP explore the controversy to assert control over huge political resources in the state. In 2019, the APC-led Kano government divided the historic Kano Emirate into five smaller emirates, ostensibly to decentralise the power and influence of the Kano Emirate. So, the 2024 Kano Emirates Council Law (Amendment no 2), assented to by the NNPP-led Kano government, underscores deep-seated tensions between traditional authority and political power.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with WikkiTimes, to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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