Daily Champion (Lagos)

6 June 2005

Nigeria: Jega Replaces Jokolo As Emir of Gwandu

Kano — FORMER Military governor of defunct Gongola State, Major Gen. Mohammed Jega (rtd) was named last night as the new Emir of Gwandu in Kebbi State.

He replaces Alhaji Mustapha Jokolo who was dethroned Friday by the state government.

A statement aired by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) said Jega's appointment had been approved by Governor Adamu Aliero.

Meanwhile the deposed Emir of Gwandu, has vowed to challenge his removal in court.

Alhaji Jokolo's position in which he gave possible reasons behind his removal including an alleged Aso Rock hand in the matter, came just as Governor Adamu Aliero of Kebbi State met with the Ulamas (Clergy) in the state to explain official reasons behind the removal of the emir.

Addressing the Ulamas Governor Aliero said Alhaji Jokolo was removed as emir because of "unruly attacks on my personality but has nothing to do with the utterances against the government or challenging the government."

However, taking exception to his deposition, Jokolo, who was a major in the Nigerian Army, said his alleged offences was purely religious.

According to him, he may have offended the governor because of his (Jokolo's) support for the North in its allegation of marginalisations by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Speaking through his lawyer, Mallami Abubakar, the embattled former emir kicked against reasons given by the Kebbi State government for his dethronement.

He refused to accept the allegations that his utterances constituted security threat and could lead to breach of peace in the country.

Said he: "If anyone feels disturbed by the utterances of anyone, he should go to court."

Jokolo's lawyer, who quoted some sections of the constitution supporting the freedom of speech, alleged that "entire episode was stage-managed."

According to the lawyer, "since the publication in a national news magazine, the Kebbi State government has been making frantic efforts to provoke Jokolo in the hope of getting something to nail him."

Abubakar noted that though Alhaji Jokolo is a man that always leaves things to God and believes in God in whatever happened to him, good or bad, in this particular case, he would seek legal redress.

He alleged that there had been many skirmishes and misunderstanding between Governor Aliero and the removed emir Jokolo," alleging further that the latest turn of events must have had the backing of the Federal Government.

He referred to a marriage controversy which he said created serious enmity between the former emir and the governor, alleging that Aliero used a sharia court to outfit the embattled emir.

He also alleged that Jokolo had been at daggers drawn with the governor over the cutting of allocations to the emir which he later challenged and won in last.

"These and many other reasons, especially Jokolo's refusal to play along with President Obasanjo are basic reasons behind his present predicament," he alleged.

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