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Muslims’ll revolt if you depose Sultan of Sokoto, MURIC warns Gov Aliyu

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has raised concerns about 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, MURIC’s Executive Director, Prof. Isiaq Akintola, expressed alarm over the potential move, which comes amid controversy and tension surrounding the deposition of several monarchs in Kano State. Governor Aliyu recently deposed 15 traditional rulers for various reasons.

Prof. Akintola highlighted the significance of the Sultan’s position, stating, “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.” He emphasized that the Sultan’s role is not just traditional but also religious, as he is the spiritual leader of all Nigerian Muslims.

MURIC has advised Governor Aliyu to reconsider any plans to dethrone the Sultan, warning that such an action would provoke a strong response from Nigerian Muslims. “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 asserted.

He further warned that Nigerian Muslims might be forced to make drastic decisions if the authority of the Sultan continues to be undermined. Referencing the deposition of Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki by Col. Yakubu Muazu in 1996, Akintola suggested that history could repeat itself, leading to significant changes in the leadership of Nigerian Muslims.

“For the avoidance of any doubts, Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad 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,” Akintola said. He proposed that if the situation deteriorates, Nigerian Muslims might choose Islamic scholars as leaders instead of traditional rulers, signaling a shift away from Sokoto’s privileged leadership position.

MURIC called on the Sokoto State House of Assembly to amend the state’s chieftaincy laws to exempt the Sultan of Sokoto from being deposed by the governor. “We urge Northern elites and Islamic scholars based in the North to intervene before it is too late. If the chieftaincy laws of Kano State can be repealed within 24 hours, nothing stops that of Sokoto State from being reviewed in favor of immunity for the office of the Sultan,” Akintola added.

The Sokoto State Government has not yet responded to MURIC’s allegations. However, it had earlier proposed amending Section 76 of the local government and chieftaincy law to align with current practices in the state. The state’s attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Nasir Binji, explained that the amendment would formalize the process where the Sultanate Council recommends candidates for district and village head positions, but the final appointment authority rests with the governor.

This ongoing situation remains tense as stakeholders await further developments.


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Written by Olusesan Oba

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