The Sokoto State Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Nasiru Binji, announced that the court order regarding the deposed district heads in the state has expired. In a conversation with journalists on Friday, Binji explained that the district heads remain deposed because the court order ended seven days after it was issued. He referred to Order 13 Rule 3 (3) of the High Court of Sokoto State Civil Procedure Rules 2015 to support his point.

Court halts removal of Sokoto district heads, asks govt to maintain status quo

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Binji elaborated that since the court order was made without the other party’s input (ex parte), it only lasted for seven days. The order was given on June 13, 2024, so it expired on June 20, 2024.

Justice Kabiru Ahmed of the Sokoto High Court had ruled on June 13, ordering that the situation should remain unchanged until the court could decide on the main issue, which is scheduled for a hearing on July 23, 2024. This ruling was in response to applications filed by two of the deposed district heads.

The legal and political landscape in Sokoto State has been recently marked by significant developments, particularly concerning the status of district heads and the power dynamics between the state government and traditional authorities. Barrister Nasiru Binji, the Sokoto State Commissioner for Justice, announced that the court order concerning the deposed district heads has been vacated. This announcement follows the expiration of the seven-day validity of the ex parte order, as stipulated by Order 13 Rule 3 (3) of the High Court of Sokoto State Civil Procedure Rules 2015.

The order in question was initially issued on June 13, 2024, by Justice Kabiru Ahmed of the Sokoto High Court. It was part of an ex parte application filed by two deposed district heads seeking to maintain the status quo pending a substantive motion for an interlocutory injunction. This motion is set for a hearing on July 23, 2024. The expiration of the court order on June 20, 2024, means that the district heads remain deposed, as the legal protection provided by the order has lapsed.

Governor Ahmed Aliyu has been actively restructuring the traditional leadership in the state. In April 2024, he deposed 15 traditional rulers, citing reasons such as insubordination, land racketeering, and aiding insecurity. The Sokoto State government’s actions have not been without controversy. The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has voiced strong opposition, warning that any attempt to further undermine the Sultan of Sokoto could lead to widespread unrest.

MURIC highlighted that the Sultan’s role extends beyond traditional leadership, encompassing significant religious authority as the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). The group’s leader, Professor Ishaq Akintola, cautioned that repeated actions against the Sultan could provoke a national reaction from the Muslim community​.