By Our Reporter
■ Ceremony blocked based on security report –Govt
■ DSS holds on to Emir of Kano’s passport
The coast appears not clear yet for the newly installed Emir of Kano, His Eminence, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who was crowned Muhammadu Sanusi II, the 14th monarch of the emirate in June as there are indications that the Federal Government might have stopped the planned coronation ceremony of the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor.
Saturday Sun gathered that arrangements had been concluded and guests invited for the ceremony scheduled to hold last Saturday September 6 before it was abruptly cancelled without any official announcement to explain why.
Another sign that all is still not well within the emirate is the refusal of the Department of State Security Service, DSS to release the seized passport of the emir despite his decision to withdraw legal suits instituted against the Federal Government in the courts to quash his suspension from office as CBN governor.
DSS operatives had in February seized the travelling documents of Sanusi following his suspension as CBN governor, shortly after he arrived Lagos from Niger Republic, where he had gone to attend a meeting of Governors of Central Banks in the West African sub-region.
Shortly after his plane landed at the ExecuJet Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, he was accosted by DSS operatives who detained him briefly and released him after seizing his passport.
President Jonathan had ordered the immediate suspension of Sanusi from office, alleging that his tenure had been characterized by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline.
Not many Nigerians believed, however, that Sanusi was suspended because he was guilty of any offence as most people argue that he was removed as CBN governor to punish him for denting the image of the government through his public indictment of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which he accused of diverting huge federal revenues totaling over $20 billion.
While Sanusi was still locked in legal battles with the Federal Government at both Lagos and Abuja courts to enforce his rights, the Kano kingmakers announced him as their choice to succeed the late emir of the city, Alhaji Ado Abdullahi Bayero. Soon after his installation, the new emir offered the Federal Government an olive branch by withdrawing all suits against the government.
Though that is expected to be reciprocated with the return of the emir’s passport, the government has, however, failed to do so six months after the seizure, thus blocking the monarch from embarking on any trip outside the shores of Nigeria.
Investigations reveal that the already planned elaborate coronation ceremony was called off following pressures from security agencies warning of a likely breakdown of law and order if the emirate council and the state government go ahead with the programme which was to give official recognition to the installation of the emir.
“We had to alert the state government and the emirate of the danger of going ahead with the ceremony because of grave threats from Boko Haram and some elements opposed to the emergence of Sanusi as emir within the city. This is certainly beyond politics but a serious security issue”, a top security source told Saturday Sun.
Another source within the Kano emirate council, who also confirmed the last minute cancellation of the coronation ceremony, expressed frustration over the development. “It was a last minute decision by all stakeholders given the security reports brought by Abuja people at least in the interest of peace. The most unfortunate part of the whole thing is that some invited guests had to cancel their engagements outside the country including a prominent traditional ruler in Kaduna State to return home last week to attend the function only to be told a few hours to the programme that the ceremony has been cancelled with no specific date in view”, the high ranking chief stated.
While reacting to the well concealed development, a top official of the Kano State government who does not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue, admitted that the ceremony was hurriedly put off because of some issues related to security complications.
“There is no point hiding anything, it is true the ceremony was put off to enable the state government to complete a coronation arena being built within the government house since the palace won’t be ideal for such because of security implications. When completed and a new date fixed, only invited guests will be allowed to attend the function. The state government would not want to leave anything to chances at this critical time”, the source stated.
When asked when the ceremony will now hold, the state official said: “No one can say, at this juncture, when the programme will hold but we are hoping it may be after sallah.”
Efforts to get the DSS spokesperson, Maryln Ogar explain why the security agency was still holding on to Sanusi’s passport proved abortive as she declined to comment when called on the phone on Wednesday. Subsequent calls to her line same day and Thursday went unanswered.
There had been a number of Boko Haram attacks in the ancient city. At least six persons were killed in July in a suicide bombing at the Kano State Polytechnic.
By Our Reporter