Northern traditional institution under spotlight as govs push long-range reforms

It was the audacity of the immediate past Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance in the 2023 general election, Comrade Abdullahi Koli, which first set the tone rolling publicly when he lampooned many state governors for toying with the traditional institutions in the North.

Koli had unabashedly condemned the growing trend in parts of the North, whereby threats of dethronement are now the order of the day.

While berating the governors and their accomplices, Koli had, without mincing words, told the politicians in the North to focus on providing the dividends of democracy to the electorate, rather than concentrate on destroying the region’s traditional institutions.

Koli, who termed the recent threats against the traditional institutions as a misplaced priority, asserted that the trend was looking more like a contract to destroy the traditional institutions and if not properly checked, not a single ruler would escape it.


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Unimpressed by the “scandalous act of our northern governors,” he impressed it on the sitting governors to focus on providing the dividends of democracy to the people, because, according to him, the shift in focus by politicians to unseat traditional rulers is totally against the will of the voters who hired them to take the lead.

Without doubt, Koli’s warning and admonition, as the case may be, has continued to reverberate across the region battling the triple scourge of banditry, terrorism and the gale of kidnappings and their consequences, all of which has come to personify the North.

Interestingly, following what a political observer, Adamu Mustapher, a Kaduna-based private chartered accountant, termed a “straight in the eyes” rebuke by Comrade Koli, not a few commoners in the North and a few elites have noted that not only was the warning timely and appropriate, it came from no other better person and quarters than the comrade, a former union leader.

“We need people like this to speak the truth to power at all times,” Salman Muktar, a radio presenter, told The PUNCH.

“The people are getting fed up with our governors across the country, especially those in the North. They never provide good governance nor bequeath good legacies,” he continued.

Lamenting further, Muktar slammed the Northern governors: “Was this the North they inherited from the likes of Mallam Aminu Kano, the leader of the Talakawas, or was this the North they inherited from the Premier, the Sardauna of Sokoto, the late Ahmadu Bello?

“Let our governors and politicians tell us if this is the North handed over to them by the late Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, or the legacies bequeathed to them by the late Balarabe Musa? Certainly no,” he said.

In an exclusive interview with The PUNCH in Bauchi State on the emirship tussle in Kano, reforms of the constitution in Sokoto, and the recent query issued by the Katsina State Government to the Emir of Katsina, Koli further condemned the cascading threats to the traditional institutions in the region as he recalled that even the colonial masters benefited from the wealth of wisdom of traditional institutions and that explains the success story of their mission to Africa.

He expressed worries that the trend of clashes between traditional institutions and the government had historical records of an allegation of insubordination against the government.

“The first traditional ruler to be dethroned in the North was Abubakar Dallaji of Katsina. He was deposed in the 19th Century by the colonial masters.

“According to history, there is no part of this country where the traditional rulers didn’t go to war against the colonial masters, all in their bid to defend their territorial integrity. Unfortunately, today, we are all forgetting the roles played by the traditional institutions,” he said.

The unionist further reminded that more than any part of the country, traditional institutions were mostly respected and honoured in the North, the reason for this, he said, resulted from how the institution blended with the religion and culture of the people.

“Whenever you destroy this institution down here, it is equivalent to destroying the people’s religion and culture, which will lead to waywardness among the subjects,” he said. While blaming the reforms of 1976 by Muhammad Dasuki for what has today led to the fate of our traditional institutions.

“When Dasuki made such reforms, he was less aware that he was going to become the Sultan,” he said.

Equally weighing in on the rising issues between the Sultanate Council and the Sokoto State Government, Koli derided the government’s claim of not planning to tamper with the Sultanate. He insisted that the lack of unity among religious leaders and traditional institutions is the cause of the recent crisis, which will ultimately lead to the underdevelopment of the affected areas and the North generally.

“What is happening in Katsina, Kano and Sokoto, among other states’ traditional institutions, for example, if it were in those days, I swear you cannot attempt to unseat an emir,” the APGA politician snapped, insisting that “what is happening is purely glorifying personal interests which will not benefit the poor.

“What the politicians should be focusing on at the moment is our population and economy, and how to improve the standard of living of our people. Unfortunately, instead of even containing insecurity, they are now focused on destroying traditional institutions,” Koli stated.

He further pointed out, “Instead of seeing the need to improve agriculture in the region, our governors are following the trend of dismantling the seats of the emirs and this will force voters to be politically apathetic.

“The poor will not even come out to vote if the leaders’ focus of coming to power is to destroy the traditional institutions.”

He then advised politicians to “reassess their style of governance in tandem with the electoral promises they made to their people, to honestly conclude if they indeed have not been focusing on misplaced priorities that will neither colour their legacies nor benefit their selfishness.”

He reminded us that, unlike traditional institutions, political tenure is limited, and the harm they inflict will affect the institution forever.

The PUNCH reports that the first onslaught and royal rumble against the highly-revered traditional institutions in the North started with the Kano Emirate in the rewrite of the much-cherished tradition and custom of the age-long Hausa people, which gave vent to the adage, ‘ba’a Sarki biyu a gari daya,’ (translated in English to mean: There can never be two emirs in a palace).

This adage, which may have held until the ugly scenario in the ancient city began to unfold in the “very eyes” of their custodians of these traditions and culture, put a lie to the adage. So messy is the Kano situation that stakeholders and residents say they are aghast as they watch “those who know next to nothing” about the rich cultural tradition of the monarchical institution rewrite the earlier Hausa adage.

Several scholars, ulamas, clerics, and others who spoke with The PUNCH further lamented that what used to be the “pride of Kano” is gone. Another observer told The PUNCH, “Our highly revered sacred, hallowed palace, which is the symbol of our way of life, no longer holds.”

Kabir Umoru, a resident who hails from Ogbomoso, Oyo State, but has lived in Kano for over 35 years had simply remarked ruefully, “I weep as I watch a people watch their much cherished traditional institutions and cultural values and all that binds them as a people disintegrate one after the other.”

The Kano monarchical tussle began with the sudden appearance of the 14th Emir of Kano and former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor,  Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the dethronement of the sitting Emir Aminu Ado Bayero, the 15th as the Emir of Kano and true to the words of Omale, two emirs finally appear to have come to reign in Kano.

Before his second coming, Sanusi had earlier been installed as the Emir of Kano on June 8, 2014, after succeeding his late uncle, Ado Bayero, but under some political circumstances, he was dethroned on June 9, 2020, by the government of Dr Umar Ganduje, in a singular development that had put the city of Kano on the edge.

Since the dethronement of Sanusi, a part of the city loyal to him never really bade him farewell even when he was banished to Loko in Nasarawa State, as his ardent supporters appeared never to be in doubt that they would do all they could to reclaim his royal seat.

The opportunity finally came calling when, in the March 2023 governorship poll in the state, the opposition New Nigeria People’s Party won the election, trouncing the All Progressives Congress. The victory set the pace for the return of the former CBN governor to the palace.

It was not surprising when, on May 24, 2024, Governor Abba Yusuf signed the bill passed by the Kano State House of Assembly, abolishing the five Emirates Ganduje created in 2020 and, by that singular act, Aminu Ado Bayero ceased to be the Emir of Kano, while Sanusi Lamido Sanusi ll, who was dethroned as the 14th Emir of Kano, was reinstated as the 16th emir.

Since that Friday, the ancient city of Kano has known no peace. Ado Bayero, who is believed in many quarters to be backed by the federal might, also returned to Kano as the Emir. Now, the ancient city of Kano has two Emirs and both are laying claim to the ancestral throne.

Following his reinstatement, Sanusi was led to the Gidan Rumfa palace by Governor Yusuf, Deputy Governor, Aminu Gwarzo and other top officials of the state government, in a development that signalled the end to the reign of the 15th Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, but for the Federal High Court, which ordered that the status quo be maintained.

Bayero, having retrieved his “power” from the court order, was escorted back to Kano from Abuja where he too now sits in a royal court as the emir. His attempt to venture into the  Gidan Rumfa presently occupied by SLS as Sanusi is fondly called by his admirers has not been possible with Sanusi occupying the palace.

The two monarchs in the dispute were barred from further action by the courts. In the court orders, the police, the army, the governor, the state assembly, Bayero and Sanusi, and others were barred from further actions.

The first order was issued by Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court, restraining the governor from reinstating Sanusi. The order was a sequel to a case of rights application instituted by Aminu Babba Dan Agundi, who holds the title of Sarkin Dawaki Babba. The order directed parties in the case to maintain the status quo ante on the passage and assent of the bill, pending the hearing of the fundamental rights applications. It also barred the police, DSS, and the NSCDC from enforcing, executing, implementing, and operationalising the Kano State Emirate Law and adjourned to June 3, 2024, for a hearing.

The order was ignored by Yusuf, who claimed that he was not “served” and that the action of assenting to the bill and reinstating Sanusi was concluded before the order.

But in a dramatic twist, another court pronouncement came from Justice Amina Adamu Aliyu of the Kano High Court, restraining the Inspector General of Police, the Directorate of the State Security and the Nigerian Military from evicting Sanusi from the traditional Emir’s palace.

The case was instituted by Sanusi himself alongside the four traditional kingmakers of Kano, namely: the Madakin Kano, Yusuf Nabahani; Makaman Kano, Ibrahim Sarki Abdullahi; Sarkin Bai Mansur Adnan;  and the Sarkin Dawaki Maituta, Bello Tuta.

Justice Aliyu barred the security agencies from arresting or harassing Sanusi and the kingmakers.

Furthermore, the court restrained them from attempting to hijack, pick, commandeer, or confiscate any of the traditional twin spears of authority, the hat of Dabo, the ostrich feathered shoes, the knife and sword of the Emir of Kano as well as the symbols of authority, pending the hearing and good determination of motion on notice.

It again restrained the Federal Government’s security agents from interfering with the functions and duties of Sanusi as the Emir of Kano and adjourned sitting till June 13, 2024, for a hearing.

While the 15th emir, Bayero, was appointed and functioned under the 2019 Emirate Law now repealed by the State House of Assembly, the 14th and 16th emir, Sanusi ll, was reappointed under the 2024 amended Emirate Law recently enacted by the State House of Assembly.

Ever since the development, tongues have continued to wag as to who is the authentic Emir of Kano State.

Perhaps it is the fears arising from the Kano “assault” that triggered the Muslim Rights Concern – an Islamic group established to cater to the interests of Muslims in Nigeria and abroad – to sound the shocking alarm to Nigerians penultimate Sunday, through Prof. Ishaq Akintola, the president, founder, and promoter of the group, via a statement widely circulated in the media, which berated and warned the Sokoto State Government not to do anything to tamper with and affect the stool of the Sultan of Sokoto.

The group threatened that if the Sultan is removed for the second time in history, the body will not wait for the third time before it will begin to nominate or pick an Islamic scholar as the leader of the nation’s Muslim community.

The PUNCH recalls that the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Nasir Muhammad Binji, earlier last month while briefing newsmen shortly after one of the State Executive Council meetings, said the council approved an amendment to the (law) Emirate Council Amendment Bill, which aims at changing the process of appointment of district and village heads.

He said the law before now gives the Sultanate the powers to nominate and approve village and district heads without recourse to the state government.

Muhammad Binji said, “The bill if it is passed into law by the Assembly, will now give the powers to nominate to the Sultanate council while the powers to approve will now be vested with the state government.

“We are only streamlining the law in conformity with the current situation and not in any way to remove the Sultan,” Muhammad Binji clarified.

Continuing, the state Attorney General stressed, “It only has to do with the appointment of district heads, village heads as well as the appointment of members of the Sultanate council in the state.”

Meanwhile, MURIC, in its statement, noted, “Nigerian Muslims North and South of the country may be constrained to pick Islamic scholars only as President General of the NSCIA and overall leader of Nigerian Muslims.

“It will be a farewell to the leadership of traditional rulers over the NSCIA and an irreversible departure from Sokoto’s privileged leadership position. But history will not be kind to Colonel Yakubu Muazu and Ahmed Aliyu for ruining the chances of Sokoto.

“That will make it impossible for any governor to harass or intimidate the leader of Nigerian Muslims. The power and influence of governors over traditional rulers have become absolute and totalitarian in recent times. Nigerian Muslims must be given the space to breathe some air of freedom like all other associations.

“Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, and the third time is enemy action. If the deposition of a Sultan and NSCIA leader happens a second time, Nigerian Muslims will not allow the embarrassment to happen a third time.

“MURIC reiterates its call on the Sokoto State House of Assembly to either repeal or review the state’s chieftaincy laws by adding the phrase, ‘except the Sultan of Sokoto’ to Section 6, Cap 26 of the Laws of Northern Nigeria, which empowers the state governor to depose the emirs, including the Sultan.

“We urge Northern elites and Islamic scholars based in the North to intervene before it is too late. This is the time to lobby the Sokoto State House of Assembly and the governor himself. If the chieftaincy laws of Kano State can be repealed within 24 hours, nothing stops that of Sokoto State from being reviewed in favour of immunity for the office of the Sultan in a single day to save Nigerian Muslims from humongous embarrassment.

“It is arbitrary, irrational and condescending for a state governor to possess the power to dethrone the leader of all Muslims in Nigeria when even an ordinary chairman of a local government cannot sack the president of a campus students union. It is unacceptable. Enough is enough.”

It continued, “In the same manner, it is tactless, reckless, myopic and senselessly audacious for any governor of Sokoto State who has the power to remove the Sultan of Sokoto and head of all Nigerian Muslims to actually use that power. Well, once bitten, twice shy. Nigerian Muslims travelled this road once, under military rule. We will not ply the same road again.”

As if that was not enough, the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, while speaking in his remarks during the North-West Governors Forum Security Summit, called on the Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Idris Gobir, who represented Governor Ahmed Aliyu at the meeting, to ensure that Sultan Saad Abubakar is held with reverence.

According to the Vice President, “Our father who is a permanent picture in all developmental issues in this country, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto. I want to use him as my point of reference to recognise and appreciate all our royal fathers present here.

“And to the Deputy Governor of Sokoto, I have a simple message for you. Yes, the Sultan is the Sultan of Sokoto, but he is much more than that; he represents an idea. He is an institution that all of us in this country need to jealously guard, protect, promote, preserve, and project for the good of our nation.”

Shettima spoke after the Executive Director of MURIC, Prof. Akintola, raised the alarm that the Sokoto State government was allegedly plotting the removal of the Sultan.

Also reacting to the fears surrounding the Sultanate, The Peoples Democratic Party in Sokoto State warned the state government not to make any attempt to sack the Sultan of Sokoto from office. The party said it was analysing the situation, adding that the party would resist any attempt to remove the Sultan.

The spokesman of the party in the state, Hassan Sahabi Sanyinnawal, said, “I want to urge the state government not to make any attempts to sack the Sultan from office. We know it was part of their slogan during the campaign that new governor, new Sultan, but they should drop the idea.

“The Sultan of Sokoto is not just a traditional ruler but also the leader of Muslim Umah in the country. Therefore, any attempt to remove him will be resisted by every Nigerian. Already, we are looking at the recent removal of some of the district heads, and our lawyer may still have to challenge that. We don’t want anything to disrupt our traditional institutions in the state.

“We heard that the Attorney General is submitting a bill to the state Assembly to transfer the powers to nominate a traditional ruler or district head from the Sultan to the governor, we would resist it by all legal means.”

Also reacting, a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Yusuf Dingyadi, urged the government not to cause chaos in the state.

Dingyadi, who is a special assistant to the national chairman of the PDP, said the current administration in the state should not embark on something that would affect the peace of Sokoto State. “The Sultanate is an institution which reflects our dignity and religious identity for almost hundreds of years after the Jihad of Sheikh Danfodio. It is a truly respective custodian of heritage and Islamic affairs of Muslim Ummah in the country and beyond.

“Those who think they can just wake up and remove the Sultan as it was done during the military era are myopic and intolerant and will backfire. Sultan Abubakar is not just a traditional ruler but also a Muslim leader and national leader, so anybody who thinks he wants to remove the Sultan because he hates the occupant of the seat should drop the idea because it will be resisted by all the Muslims across the country. Therefore, I appeal to the governor not to allow anyone to use him to cause problems. He and his commissioners should realise that they will one day leave power and the people will ask them of their stewardship.”

A press statement signed and made available to newsmen by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Abubakar Bawa, dismissed the rumour in its entirety.

Bawa urged MURIC to remain apolitical in its dealings, saying the recent statement credited to the body on plans by the state government to sack the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, was baseless and untrue.

“The attention of the Sokoto State Government has been drawn to a malicious publication credited to the Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) alleging a plan by the state government to dethrone the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar.

“The state government wondered how a responsible body like MURIC, claiming to be protecting the rights of the Muslims, would descend so low and cheaply as to join hands with deluded mischief makers and enemies of progress to fabricate such a false and unsubstantiated story, just to create an unfriendly atmosphere and fear in the minds of the law-abiding and peaceful citizens of the state.

“We believe that MURIC is not the type that will be dancing to the tunes of enemies and mischief makers who are trying to take away the attention of the good people of Sokoto State and Nigerians on the transformative initiatives taking place in Sokoto State over the last one year.

“We also like to assure MURIC that the present administration, just like the previous administrations in the state, cherishes and respects the Sultanate Council long before MURIC was established.

“The Sultanate Council, which has a long-standing historical importance, is so revered by all the people of Sokoto State. Therefore, we still hold the institution in very high regard and esteem. This is not the first time stories such as this were fabricated to show that all is not well between the state government and the Sultanate Council, as some few months back, we had a similar obnoxious story which the state government categorically condemned and denied in whole and its entirety.

“From the look of things, those nefarious detractors and distracting enemies of progress have not relented in their failed efforts to smear the cordial relationship existing between the state government and the Sultanate Council,” the statement stressed.

It added, “MURIC should have cared to find out if there was ever any query, warning, or any threatening documents served on the sultan by the state government. We equally like to remind MURIC that promoting Islamic affairs is the second item on Ahmed Aliyu’s nine-point Smart Agenda, therefore, Islam means so much to the present administration, coupled with the fact that Sokoto, being the Seat of the Caliphate, is a 100 per cent Muslim-dominated society.”

The spokesman to the governor also urged Vice President Shettima to always verify facts generated from social media before commenting, especially on sensitive national matters. He said the story of the Sultan’s planned removal is false and just an imagination of the writer.

While stakeholders in the region were just coming to terms with the two incidents and pondering what next line of actions to pursue, then came the disquiet from Katsina State, following an allegation that the Katsina State Government issued a query to the Emirate Council over the absence of some district heads at the just-concluded 2024 Eid-el-Kabir Sallah Durbar, which held on June 16 and 17.

It was learnt that only 27 out of the 44 district heads under the Emirate Council participated in the Eid-el-Kabir Durbar to the displeasure of the governor.

A highly placed source in the government, who spoke to our correspondent in Katsina on condition of anonymity, because he had no official clearance to speak on the issue, said, “The governor was displeased because he recently raised the allocation of the District Heads to N1m from the N200,000 hitherto paid them by the previous administrations.”

The government, in the query signed by the Director of Administration and Supply in the Governor’s Office, Government House, Katsina, Rabiu Jibia, asked the Emirate Council to explain why the District Heads were absent from the Durbar.

Jibia wrote: “I am directed to refer to your letter on the above underlined subject matter dated 7th June 2024 and convey the directive of His Excellency, the Governor, for you to provide reasons for non-participation of some of the District Heads in the 2024 ld-El-Kabir Hawan Sallah celebration. Grateful for your prompt response as always, please.”

Also, Governor Radda had, while delivering his Eid-el-Kabir Durbar message to the emirate, warned that “District heads had no excuse of absenteeism as far as the Emir participates.”

The government’s source, while speaking to our correspondent on the development, clarified, “You can’t be a District Head of the Emirate Council and refuse to partake in the traditional Sallah Durbar. It’s not done.

“In order to encourage them, Governor Radda gave them N1,000,000, yet many of them did not attend the ceremony. What did they do with the money? The present government is for transparency and accountability.

“To me, the query letter was meant for the erring district heads for not attending the ceremony, and they were to give reasons for not attending. The query was not really for the Emir or the Emirate.

“Unfortunately, only 27 District Heads participated in this year’s Eid-el-Kabir Sallah Durbar and that was why the government issued the query letter to the Emirate to give reasons why the remaining District Heads were absent during the Durbar.”

Meanwhile, the PUNCH observed a disparity in the said date the letter was supposedly issued on July 7, 2024, whereas the Sallah break and Durbar held between the 16 and 17 of June 2024.

To this end, our correspondent spoke with a lecturer from the Department of Political Science, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina, Bala Abdullahi Husseini, who berated some of the emirs in the North for being partisan and more politically inclined rather than being traditionally inclined.

According to the university lecturer, “Ever since the creation of the Hausa land around 11100, the system here has been so traditional that the emir guides the affairs of the land and areas where he lived.

“On whether the traditional institution in the North is being undermined or not, people must understand that since the 1976 Local Government reforms, the traditional institution has lost its powers to the Western system or the constitutional aspect of governance, even though they are part of the constituted authority, but the powers they exercised during the time under review was purely traditional and if you can connect, this was one of the reasons why the indirect rule system in Northern Nigeria succeeded because there was this respect between the rulership, the governed and the government amidst the traditional institution.

“This is where an individual Emir will speak, when he speaks, it commands respect and order across all the areas he is ruling to the extent that if there is any conflict, either family or communal conflict or any other tussle meant to distract the institution, it is the traditional institution that resolved these conflicts even before the establishment of the courts. There was that respect for the institution that drives social cohesion within the traditional institution.

“Also, the jihad of Usman Danfodio in 1804 really provided and prepared the ground for the traditional institution or rulership to be what it is, then as subsistent, the issue of 1976 local government reform where the Local Government, they cut down the significant percentage of the role and responsibility of the traditional institution. Then what is happening and what will happen

“According to that 1976 local government reform, the local government chairman is above the emir, not to talk of the governor. Most of the emirs in the North that I know, most of them partake closely in politics. They are becoming more of the political emirs than traditional emirs.

“So, you see whenever such issues of politics become infected into the traditional institution where emirs don’t respect the office they are occupying, there is the likelihood for every politician to distract the attention of that emir.

“Before then, the emirs because of that respect accorded by society did not unnecessarily wade into talks about the governor, including the president, even though they had every right to call him to come down to their palace to discuss issues of social importance, or call them to order over disturbing and very sensitive issues. But participating in politics to the extent that any political class knows which party some emirs belong to is wrong.

“Certainly, if and when that politician assumes office, you know there will be no love or respect for the emir because he knows the party he belongs to. So, the major thing is that the traditional institution should allow politicians to do their thing. So long as the traditional rulers are forcing themselves into politics, there will be a time when this issue of inheritance as to the traditional institution will be a tenure system. You spend so, so years, you move out, somebody else will come.

“And, going by that, social cohesion, social connectivism that was in existence in the North will be eroded,” Husseini submitted.

Speaking on the query letter issued to the Katsina Emir recently by the governor, Bala said, “Well, I don’t know of that query but even if there is a query, the understanding of a query among individuals, differs. If they say there is a query to be issued to you, what it means is that they need explanations. This is just an explanation that you need to give beyond reasonable doubt because it is an official activity, so you need to explain officially what you did and why you did what you did.

“You are to answer the query as against the interpretation given by most people that when a query is issued, it means you are on a time bomb, which is not so. A query is just an opportunity for you to explain your side of an event. So, if there is anything regarding that, it is an explanation needed by the governor from the Emir of Katsina.

“It means the governor is looking for an explanation which he deserves to be given as a governor of the state. However, some may argue that contrary to the 1976 local government reform where the chairman of the local government is higher in authority than the emir, the query letter on the emir ought to come from the Katsina Local Government Council Chairman and not the governor. But the reality of today is that when you say a local government chairman should write a query which constitutionally ought to have been, traditionally, you’re downgrading the office.

“So, to me, I think that the letter given from the SSG’s office is a sign of respect accorded to the traditional institution, because if you asked the local government chairman to issue the query to the emir, then the interpretation will be somehow,” Husseini explained.

As of the time of filing this report, The PUNCH could not reach the Katsina State Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mallam Bala Salisu Zango, for clarification on the date disparity in the query.

Zango had earlier in a telephone conversation told The PUNCH, “We need to sit and discuss at length. I will call you once I’m done with the meeting I’m holding, please.”

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