The Supreme Court of Nigeria has adjourned until November 2023, to hear three appeals challenging the five-year-old order of the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal, reinstating HRH Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo as the 19th Emir of Gwandu.
At a resumed sitting on the protracted Gwandu Emirate headship tussle, the five-man panel of Justices led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, adjourned a scheduled hearing in deference to a fresh appeal filed by one of the appellants at a court below.
The November 29, sitting was for the court to hear a motion for substitution of the names of deceased kingmakers in the three appeals which were filed and consolidated.
Justice Ariwoola enquired to know which of the three appeals the panel was to hear, so that judgment on it would be binding on the two other appeals but the counsel for the Governor of Kebbi State, Mr Yakubu Maikyau informed the panel that he had an appeal challenging jurisdiction at the Sokoto Division of the Court of Appeal.
This made the Apex court stay its proceeding in view of the appeal at the court below.
HRH Alhaji Jokolo was deposed in 2005 and he immediately challenged his dethronement at the State High Court.
In 2014, a State High Court sitting in Birnin Kebbi had ordered Alhaji Jokolo’s immediate reinstatement, having been satisfied that he was illegally deposed and that due process was not followed.
Not satisfied with the judgement, Kebbi State Government and Jokolo’s successor, filed an appeal challenging the decision of the State High Court.
In 2016, the three judges of the appellate court also held that the deposition of the Emir contravened sections 6 and 7 of the Chief Appointment and Deposition Law of the State because the Governor neither made an inquiry into the allegation against the Emir nor consulted the Kebbi State’s Council of Chiefs before arriving at his decision.
Specifically, the appeals before the Supreme Court are aimed at reviewing the verdicts of the two lower courts.
Reporting by Ifeoma Nwovu; editing by Abdullahi Lamino