Fresh hurdles are facing the new Kano Emirates Council Bill, 2019 as lawyers of the kingmakers of Kano Emirate wrote to the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Ibrahim Mukhtar, drawing his attention to a subsisting court case on the creation of four additional emirates in the state.
The state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, had on May 8 assented to the controversial law establishing four additional emirates with first class emirs in Bichi, Rano, Karaye and Gaya, which the state assembly passed within three days.
Following uproar over the creation of the emirates, the then Minority Leader of the House, Rabiu Gwarzo, filed a case challenging the legality of the procedure that led to the passage of the law.
On November 21, Justice Umar Na’abba of a Kano High Court delivered judgement in his favour, dissolving the emirates and sacking the emirs.
Apart from the foregoing case, there is another case instituted by Kano Emirate kingmakers — Madaki, Makama, Sarkin Dawaki Maituta and Sarkin Bai — pending before a state high court.
Legal pundits argue that since there is a pending case on the subject matter before a court, whatever legislation the House of Assembly made cannot stand.
A state counsel who preferred anonymity told DAILY NIGERIAN that it amounts to subjudice for the State Assembly to entertain the matter. “This is a flagrant abuse of law, it is subjudice, and whatever is built on it cannot stand. In a serious clime, contempt proceedings can be filed against the Speaker,” said the lawyer.
But in a letter written to the Attorney General of the state, the lawyers of the kingmakers drew his attention to Suit No. K/197/2019: Yusuf Nabahani (Madakin Kano) & 3 Ors v. Speaker Kano State House of Assembly, which is pending before High Court No. 3 presided over by Justice A.T. Badamasi.
“The related bill provides for the establishment of additional 4 new emirates in Kano State and same has been forwarded to the Kano State House of Assembly for deliberation and passage,” the letter read in part.
“We will like to respectfully draw your attention to the fact that the subject matter of the Bill under consideration is currently being litigated in the above referenced suit. This suit as you would recall has been pending before the High Court of Kano since May 2019.
“The Plaintiffs in the suit are challenging the powers of Kano State House of Assembly and that of the Governor to make any law concerning the creation of new emirates in Kano State. The Governor, House of Assembly and the Speaker are parties to the suit and are represented by a counsel.
“It is also pertinent to draw attention to the fact that as the matter is pending in Court it is subjudice and all parties in the proceedings should as a matter of law and public policy allow the courts unfettered opportunity to determine the rights of the parties without interference. Therefore, the House of Assembly and the Executive Branch of government have no powers to do anything that will affect the decision of the Court.
“It is part of the requirement of maintenance of rule of law and sanctity of the administration of justice that duty of courts to administer justice and to determine the rights of citizens even against the legislative and executive branches are respected.
“Our position is also consistent with the established practice and procedures of law making, rule of law and international best practice. Thus, once a matter is pending before a court of law, the parties always deferred to the Judiciary. This position is also supported by the provision of Order IV Rule I (e) of Kano State House of Assembly Rules 2009.
“In light of the above, we respectfully advise that all parties should stay further deliberation concerning the ‘Kano State Emirates Council Bill 2019’ before the Kano State House of Assembly pending the final determination of Suit No. K/197/2019.”
Government insiders told DAILY NIGERIAN on Wednesday that despite the pending court case on the subject matter, the State House of Assembly is going ahead to the pass of the law on Thursday.
“With the support of the state government, it is apparent the House would complete its task tomorrow (Thursday). The law would have been passed today (Wednesday) as the legislators went as far as going to a committee of the whole,” said a lawmaker.
“There is no much opposition to the bill in the House. The bill has already scaled first and second reading. The only bone of contention is the issue of governor’s right to appoint kingmakers, and then there is a mild dispute over adding one local government, Minjibir, to the Kano Emirate. So there is tug of war over whether Minjibir should be added to the 8 metropolitan local governments given to Kano Emirate.”