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Stop Sokoto Emirate Council Amendment Bill- MURIC

A bill called Sokoto Emirate Council Amendment Bill has passed through the first and second readings. If passed into law, the Sultan of Sokoto will be stripped of certain powers. Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned the amendment as an attempt to diminish the influence of the Sultan. The human rights organization argued that it is the section of the chieftaincy law which empowers the governor to remove the Sultan that should be amended.

MURIC’s condemnation of the new bill was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday, 26th June, 2024 by its Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

The full statement reads:

“There are reports that the Sokoto State House of Assembly is currently rushing through a bill which it called Emirate Council Amendment Bill. The bill has passed through the first and second readings within a very short period. (https://punchng.com/breaking-sokoto-assembly-passes-emirate-council-amendment bill/?utm_source=telegram&utm_medium=social).


“If passed into law, the Sultan of Sokoto will be stripped of certain powers including that of appointing the kingmakers and district heads without government approval.

“This bill is outrageous, nauseating and anachronistic. It is a direct attack on the traditional institution of Sokoto State. Instead of entrenching the powers of the Sultan, it is an undisguised attempt at weakening his powers and making him less relevant in the scheme of traditional settings.

“In short the governor is preparing the ground for dismantling the Sultanate Council and setting up his own personal Sultanate Council, a council that will be totally controlled from government house. That is the only logical explanation for his removal of 15 traditional rulers in a single day. Ahmed Aliyu is exhibiting the symptoms of fascism, totalitarianism and prebendalism.

“Nigerian Muslims are already asking, ‘Why the rush?’ Why are they rushing the bill if there is no hidden agenda? The whole exercise is suggestive of political motivation. The governor is barely one year in office and he has removed 15 traditional rulers. How many will he remove by the time he spends four years? That is reckless. It is acrobatic administrative reform at breakneck speed. The governor needs to slow down.

“Were the offences of those 15 traditional rulers who were removed ever published? Were they given the chance to defend themselves? Were the reports of the investigations made public in order to conform with democratic norms and global best practices?

If these were not done, we demand a revisit of the deposition of the 15 traditional rulers, proper investigation by a non-partisan panel and the publication of the panel’s findings. Only then can Governor Ahmed Aliyu be deemed to have satisfied all righteousness in transparency, probity and accountability.

“The state government came out yesterday to deny any plan to remove the Sultan but we can all see what it is doing secretly now. What explanation does the governor have for the sudden interest in hijacking the Sultanate Council? This is further evidence that Governor Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto State is deceiving Nigerian Muslims. It is a manifestation of a strange crave for absolute power.

“In a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton about how historians should judge the abuse of power by rulers, the 19th century British historian, Lord Acton (1834–1902) said, ‘Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

“MURIC calls the attention of Sokoto lawmakers to this disturbing development. What the good people of Sokoto State need now is a stable Sultanate Council. That is our pride. An ever-swinging traditional pendulum will cause fluctuation of values and norms. The citizens will experience blurred vision, nightmarish dreams and scattered goals.

“We appeal to lawmakers in the Sokoto State House of Assembly to halt the progress of the current bill. Instead, they should turn to the section of the state’s chieftaincy law which empowers the governor to remove the Sultan with a view to amending it in such a way that will exempt the Sultan from dethronement. This is necessary in the interest of the unity of the Ummah.

“It has become mandatory to exempt the Sultan from the possibility of deposition before a governor who will be more radical than Colonel Muazu and more reckless than Ahmed Aliyu takes the center stage and then all of us will shout in unison, ‘Oh God! What have we done?’”.

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