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MURIC raises concern over alleged plan by Sokoto Gov. to depose Sultan

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MURIC raises concern over alleged plan by Sokoto Gov. to depose Sultan

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has expressed concern over an alleged plan by Governor Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto State to depose the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III.

In a statement released on Monday, the Executive Director of MURIC, Prof. Isiaq Akintola, highlighted the potential threat to the Sultan’s position.

The development is coming amid the controversy and tension over the deposition of some monarchs in Kano State.

Governor Aliyu had earlier deposed 15 traditional rulers for various offences.

The statement by Akintola emphasised the rejection by Nigerian Muslims of any idea to depose the respected Sultan.

“Feelers in circulation indicate that the governor may descend on the Sultan of Sokoto any moment from now using any of the flimsy excuses used to dethrone the 15 traditional rulers whom he removed earlier.

“MURIC advises the governor to look before he leaps. The Sultan’s stool is not only traditional. It is also religious. In the same vein, his jurisdiction goes beyond Sokoto. It covers the whole of Nigeria. He is the spiritual head of all Nigerian Muslims.

“Therefore, any governor who tampers with the stool of the Sultan will have Nigerian Muslims to reckon with because the Sultan combines the office of the Sultan of Sokoto and that of the President General of the NSCIA,” Akintola said.

The MURIC boss warned that Governor Aliyu should not force Nigerian Muslims to take a drastically revolutionary measure.

He said having a traditional ruler as leader has been a condition Nigerian Muslims accepted a long time ago as a necessary weakness in the structure which they have to live with.

READ ALSO: Kano gov’t moves to depose Shekarau as Sardaunan Kano

He said, “A military governor, Col. Yakubu Muazu, exposed this soft underbelly when he deposed Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki on 20th April, 1996. Nigerian Muslims will be forced to make a hard decision if Sokoto governors continue to diminish the authority of the Sultan.

“For the avoidance of any doubts, Sultan Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar is not only the Sultan of Sokoto but the Sultan of the Nigerian people. His performance and style of leadership have warmed him into the hearts of Nigerians.

“Nigerian Muslims North and South of the country may be constrained to pick Islamic scholars only as President General of the NSCIA and overall leader of Nigerian Muslims.

“It will be farewell to the leadership of traditional rulers over the NSCIA and an irreversible departure from Sokoto’s priviledged leadership position. But history will not be kind to Col. Yakubu Muazu and Ahmed Aliyu for ruining the chances of Sokoto.

“Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, the third time is enemy action. If the deposition of a Sultan and NSCIA leader happens a second time, Nigerian Muslims will not allow the embarrassment to happen a third time.

“MURIC reiterates its call on the Sokoto State House of Assembly to either repeal or review the state’s chieftaincy laws by adding the phrase ‘except the Sultan of Sokoto’ to Section 6, Cap 26 of the Laws of Northern Nigeria which empowers the state governor to depose the emirs including the Sultan.

“We urge Northern elites and Islamic scholars based in the North to intervene before it is too late. This is the time to lobby the Sokoto State House of Assembly and the governor himself. If the chieftaincy laws of Kano State can be repealed within 24 hours, nothing stops that of Sokoto State from being reviewed in favour of immunity for the office of the Sultan in a single day to save Nigerian Muslims from humongous embarrassment.”

Daily Trust reports that the Sokoto State Government is yet to react to MURIC’s allegation but it had earlier said there was a plan to amend section 76 of the local government and chieftaincy law to align with prevailing practices within the state.

Under the current law, the authority to appoint district and village heads lies with the Sultanate Council.

However, in practice, the Sultanate Council merely provides recommendations to the state government, with the governor ultimately making the appointments.

Nasir Binji, the state’s attorney-general and commissioner for justice, had clarified that the proposed amendment aimed to synchronise the legal framework with the customary procedure in Sokoto.

Addressing journalists after a State Executive Council meeting, Binji explained that under the proposed amendment, the Sultanate Council would retain the power to recommend candidates, while the authority to appoint would be vested in the governor.

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