July 18, 2024

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has raised concerns about an alleged plot by Governor Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto State to depose the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III.

MURIC’s Executive Director, Isiaq Akintola, sounded the alarm in a statement on Monday, highlighting growing tensions following the recent removal of several monarchs in Kano State.

Governor Aliyu previously deposed 15 traditional rulers for various offenses, sparking fears that he may target the Sultan next. Akintola warned, “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 emphasized the importance of the Sultan’s position, not just traditionally, but also religiously. Akintola said, “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.”

The organization cautioned that any move against the Sultan would provoke a significant backlash from Nigerian Muslims. Akintola noted, “Any governor who tampers with the stool of the Sultan will have Nigerian Muslims to contend with because the Sultan combines the office of the Sultan of Sokoto and that of the President General of the NSCIA.”

Akintola also recalled past instances where traditional rulers faced similar threats, referencing Col. Yakubu Muazu’s deposition of Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki in 1996. He warned, “Nigerian Muslims will be forced to make a hard decision if Sokoto governors continue to diminish the authority of the Sultan.”

MURIC urged the Sokoto State House of Assembly to amend the state’s chieftaincy laws to protect the Sultan from such actions. “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,” Akintola appealed.

The Sokoto State Government has yet to respond to MURIC’s allegations but previously mentioned plans to amend the local government and chieftaincy law to align with current practices. The state’s attorney-general, Nasir Binji, explained that the proposed amendment would align the legal framework with customary procedures, ensuring the Sultanate Council retains the power to recommend candidates, while the Governor retains the authority to appoint them.

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