25 February 2004

Nigeria: Kano Emirate Moves to Retrieve Stolen 1807 Constitution

Kano — AS the Sokoto caliphate celebrates the 200 years of Uthman Dan Fodio's revolution, Kano Emirate Council has raised a high profile team to storm London and retrieve the emirate's stolen written constitution.

The constitution which was written in 1807 by the Habe rulers was ferried away by the invading British colonial overlords following the fall of the emirate in 1903.

Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero and other traditional authorities in the emirate had repeatedly expressed serious concern at the non-return of the precious document by successive British governments.

Addressing newsmen on the matter yesterday, the Wambai Kano, Alhaji Abbas Sanusi, who is also a senior councillor in the emirate, said the document was a guide to the then rulers of the emirate as well as a tool for propagating the Sharia legal system.

Alhaji Sanusi hinted that at the time the constitution was written, none of the 32 states conquered by Danfodio, had anything like it.

He said the 1807 constitution was taken to Sokoto in 1809 during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Bello, the son of Danfodio, who edited it and made it more readable for Kano emirate to work with.

"Unfortunately in 1903, when the British colonialists captured Kano Emirate Council, they packed away the constitution, some valuable properties which have traditional bearings and many things," Sanusi said.

The senior councillor noted that the Kano traditional authorities made efforts to bring in Gwandu emirate to help them retrieve the constitution "but now, we decided to pursue the case on our own."

Alhaji Sanusi said: "Our grandfathers, that is Ibrahim Dabo, Abdullahi Bayero and many others, ruled Kano according to the strict guidance of Uthman Danfodio who chose Sharia system.

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