The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, one of Nigeria’s most influential Muslim traditional leaders, has been removed from his throne.
He was deposed for showing “insubordination” to the authorities in the northern state of Kano. Mohammed Sanusi, an ex-central bank chief, has had frosty relations with Kano Governor Abdullahi Ganduje since 2017.
His supporters believe he was sacked for opposing Abdullah Ganduje’s re-election last year.
Traditional leaders in Nigeria hold few constitutional powers but are able to exert significant influence as they are seen as custodians of both religion and tradition.
Mohammed Sanusi was seen as a reformist and had been critical of some government policies – a stance that frequently put him at loggerheads with ruling politicians.
Reports said, the emir has been removed from the palace in the city of Kano by security forces. It is not clear where he has been taken, but by tradition he will be expected to live in exile outside the emirate for the rest of his life.
Aminu Ado Bayero, the son of Mohammed Sanusi’s predecessor who ruled Kano for more than half a century until his death in 2014, has been chosen as the new emir by the local authorities.
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, Mohammed Sanusi has not attended state functions and official meetings, which the government said amounted to “total insubordination”.
The emir’s refusal to appear before a panel investigating allegations of corruption against him also did not go down well with the government.
He is accused of selling property and mismanaging emirati funds but he secured a court order stopping the probe.
Born into the Fulani royal family, Lamido Sanusi became the 14th Emir of Kano in 2014 after the death of Ado Bayero.