Kaduna: Court reinstates paramount ruler dethroned by El-Rufai

The National Industrial Court sitting in Kaduna on Monday nullified the dethronement of the paramount monarch of Piriga Chiefdom, Lere Local Government, Chief Jonathan Pharaguwa Zamuna.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Bashir Attahiru Alkali, having established that the Industrial Court has the jurisdiction to entertain the case, held that the government of ex-Governor el-Rufai did not comply with due process in dethroning the Piriga third-class monarch and declared the act unconstitutional, illegal, unfair, null and void, and of no effect.

The court ordered the reinstatement of Chief Zamuna back to the throne with all salaries paid and privileges accorded to him restored and ordered the Kaduna State government to pay Chief Zamuna N10 million in damages for the breach of his fundamental rights, with an order to comply with the judgment within 30 days.

Reacting to the judgment, Henrietta Iorkumbul Esquire, who represented the lead counsel to the claimant, Napoleon O. Idenala Esquire, described a fair hearing as key to justice and the rule of law.

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James Kanyip Esquire, who represented the lead counsel to the defendant and the government of Kaduna State, declined to comment on the judgment.

Speaking to newsmen, the reinstated Piriga paramount ruler, Chief Zamuna, was full of appreciation and thankfulness that justice and fairness had prevailed.

The former Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, had on May 22, 2023, announced the deposition of two paramount rulers, the ruler of Piriga Chiefdom and that of Arak Chiefdom in Sanga Council area, stating, “the depositions followed recommendations from the Ministry of Local Government Affairs in line with the provisions of Section 11 of the Traditional Institutions Law No. 21 of 2021,” in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Hajiya Umma Ahmad.

But Chief Zamuna approached the industrial court and asked it to set aside the dethronement for lack of fair hearing, as he was neither given a query nor invited to state his own side of the story on the allegations leveled against him.

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