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Aisha Waziri Umar: No one can banish a Nigerian any more under the 1999 constitution

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My (Aisha Waziri Umar)former law firm “Umar and Imhanobe” handled the leading case on behalf of HRH Jokolo former Emir of Gwandu which concerned the issue of banishment.

The case was initially conducted at the High Court in Abuja and then the Court of Appeal. It remains the position of the law in Nigeria today.
Below are details-
In Government of Kebbi State V HRH Mustapha Jokolo (2013) LPELR the Court of Appeal made the following pronouncement on banishment and deportation of a deposed king:

The Governor of Kebbi State has no right to act outside the clear and unambiguous provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (applicable to this case). Section 35 (1) of the said Constitution provides that every citizen of Nigeria is “entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty” except in the circumstances set out in subsections (a) to (f) thereof. Section 40 of the same Constitution provides that “every person is entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons”.

On the issue at hand, Section 41(1) of the Constitution is germane and it provides thus:

“41 – (1) Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society –
(a) imposing restrictions on the residence or movement of any person who has committed or is reasonable suspected to have committed a criminal offence in order to prevent him from leaving Nigeria; or

(b) providing for the removal of any person from Nigeria to any other country to –

(i) be tried outside Nigeria for any criminal offence, or

(ii) undergo imprisonment outside Nigeria in execution of the sentence of a court of law in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty:

Provided that there is reciprocal agreement between Nigerian and such other country in relation to such matter.

The appellant has not been able to show that the banishment of the 1st respondent from Gwandu Emirate in Kebbi State and his deportation to Obi in Nasarawa State were in accordance with the clear provisions of Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

The banishment and deportation from Kebbi State by the Governor of Kebbi State, on or about the 3rd of June, 2005 of the 1st respondent to Lafia in Nasarawa State and later to Obi, also in Nasarawa State, is most unconstitutional, and illegal.

By the said banishment and deportation, the 1st respondent has been, unduly and wrongfully denied his constitutional rights “to respect for the dignity of his person”; “to assemble freely and associate other persons” – including the people of Gwandu Emirate of Kebbi State; and to “move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof” as respectively provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.” Per ADUMEIN, J.C.A. (Pp. 72-73, paras. E-D).

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Aisha Waziri Umar
Is a Lawyer and writes from Abuja

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