Mr Abubakar Balarabe-Mahmoud, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and leader of the team said this while briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Kano.
“We have not spoken to the Emir since yesterday, but we understand they are at their destination somewhere in a remote part of Nassarawa State after driving for nearly seven hours in the night and arrived at about 2.00 a.m., this morning.
“We understand the choice of location to detain Sanusi was intended to cause maximum trauma and distress. This again is illegal and unconstitutional.
“According to instructions we received from the Emir through his Chief of Staff, we are directed to take legal action to challenge the legality of his detention and banishment.
“We are of the firm view that this action is illegal and unconstitutional. Section 35 of our Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to personal liberty. The basis of the denial of personal liberty is set out clearly in this Section of the Constitution. None applies to the case of Sanusi.
“The archaic practice of banishment of deposed Emirs, a colonial practice has no basis under Nigerian law or Constitution. We are totally perplexed at the resort to this practice in present-day Nigeria by its political leaders,” he said.
He added: “The illegality of such practice was pronounced by the Court of Appeal in Attorney General Kebbi State vs. former Emir of Kwandu, Alhaji Al-Mustapha Jakolo and ors 2013 LPELR 22349/CA where the Court pronounced it as an illegal and unconstitutional and gross violation of the rights of the Emir.
“This is what the court said in that case: The banishment and deportation from Kebbi State by the governor of Kebbi State of the first respondent Jokolo to Lafia in Nassarawa State and later to Obi also in Nassarawa State is most unconstitutional and illegal.
“We call on the authorities, in particular the Inspector General, the Director-General of Department State Services and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to ensure the immediate release of Sanusi II so that he can be reunited with his family.
“We are concerned about his personal safety and security, and wish to call on all well-meaning Nigerians and the International Community to bring their influence to bear to ensure that he regains his liberty immediately and to guaranty his safety and security.
“We, the legal team of the dethroned Emir, are working both in Kano and Abuja and unless he is released immediately, we will be taking appropriate legal action.”
According to Balarabe-Mahmoud, the Kano State Emirate Council Law which was recently enacted by the State Government does not give the State Executive Council or the governor the powers to unilaterally remove the emir.
“The reason given in the letter of deposition of the Emir dated 9th March 2020, was alleged ‘disrespect to lawful instructions from the authorities’.
“The Emir was also alleged to have ‘refused to attend official programmes and meetings organised by government’, as far as we are aware, there has not been any notice of such disrespect ever given to the Emir or query issued to him for refusal to attend official functions.
“He was never given an opportunity to defend himself against those charges. Section 13 of the Kano Emirates Council Law 2019 cited in the letter of deposition empowers the Governor to depose an Emir only after due inquiry and in consultation with State Council of Chiefs.
“We are not aware of such due inquiry nor are we aware that the Kano State Council of Chiefs was at any time summoned to any meeting much less discuss the removal of the Emir or give any advice to the Governor on the deposition,” he said.
He added that the deposed emir was the Chairman of the Council and if such a meeting was summoned, he would have been aware.
“He would have informed us, in our view, the action was patently illegal and unconstitutional and a clear abuse of power,” he said.