Lawmakers ditch probe of outspoken Nigerian ruler

(File:, AFP)
(File:, AFP)

Kano - Lawmakers in Kano state, northern Nigeria, have indefinitely suspended a probe into allegations of graft against one of the country's most respected traditional rulers, ending proceedings that could have seen him removed from office.

The speaker of the state assembly, Kabiru Alhassan Rurum, told members that the investigation of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, had been stopped on the request of state governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

"The halting of the investigation is necessitated by the need to respect the intervention of some notable Nigerians on the issue," Rurum said, reading the governor's letter.

"Therefore, I am appealing to the honourable members to kindly end the investigation for the progress of the state."

Rurum said later that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote and former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida were among those who intervened.

The 40-member assembly unanimously agreed to end the probe - a day before the committee was to submit its findings.

The lawmakers had on May 10 set up an eight-man committee to investigate eight allegations including "embezzlement of funds belonging to the emirate council", abuse of office and improper conduct.

The investigation came two weeks after the Kano state anti-corruption agency launched a probe into the finances of the state-funded Kano emirate council.

It was alleged the monarch spent $19m of palace funds to pay for luxury cars, chartered flights, phone and internet bills as well as other personal expenses.

The council - the emir's royal court - denied the allegations.

The state anti-corruption stopped its probe after the lawmakers announced their investigation, to avoid duplication.

Both investigations fuelled suspicion that powerful figures in the north wanted the emir removed.

In the last three years since he became emir the Western-educated ruler has broken with royal tradition by speaking out about the need for social reform in a deeply conservative region.

That pitched him against political and religious interests.

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