By Ismail Auwal
The 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has for the first time narrated how he spent 11 days in police cell in Bompai and 333 days in Sokoto Prison.
Emir Sanusi, in a pre-colloquium event organised to celebrate his 60th birthday, at the weekend, recalled how his uncle, who handed him over to the police for arrest, was to later in life kneel before him to greet him as a his King.
The Emir, who was also the Khalifa of Tijjaniya Sufi Order, said, “In the years I was in Sudan I was very radical; I was basically thinking that the entire system was rotten.
“I was very critical with the military administration; I was very critical of dictatorship, I was supportive of human rights and progressive ideals. And this was in the days of General Abacha!”
He further recalled his experience even with concerned family members due to his radical disposition.
“Senior members of my family were not happy with me, because they felt I was too critical of what I said was their complicity and alliance with the undemocratic regime; that the government was not happy with me and I was a marked man.
“In 1995, there was a religious riot in Kano, over somebody who was said to have defaced the Qur’an. I had nothing to do with it. I had no roles there. I was in the mosque on that day, that was all.
“But it was the opportunity that some people took to punish me and teach me a lesson for being too critical.
“Without trial, without going to court, without being told what I had done, I spent 11 days in a police cell in Bompai, and from there I was taken under Decree 2 as a threat to national security and I spent 333 days in Sokoto prison on detention.
“After one year in prison I was released. The most interesting part, the government went and canceled every single record of my detention, because they were worried that I might sue them to court. But then that helped me because then it meant when someone comes to appoint there will be no records that I was ever a threat to national security and, therefore, I passed all the security checks, even though the intention then was to stop me from going to court.”
According to him, he refused to be pacified by regaining his freedom as he understandably felt betrayed by those close to him.
He reflected on his experience on release from the prison: “I came out from the Prison a very angry man. I was ready to fight my family, ready to fight the system, ready to fight everybody. And, then my father called me and he said, if you have a problem with anyone or confront anyone over anything that happened to you I will not forgive you. Leave everything to Allah SWT. Forget it.
“It is strange, this life; the uncle of mine who actually made the phone call and handed me over to the police for arrest was to come and kneel in front of me and greet me as his emir later. So, my father was right.”