The Kano State Emirate Council on Monday defended itself over an allegation of financial recklessness, saying it is not true that it has spent over N6 billion in less than three years since former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Muhammadu Sanusi, became the Emir of Kano.
At a press conference in Kano, the Emirate Council said it has only spent N4.314 billion, and gave account of its expenditures under the new emir. Mr. Sanusi became emir in June 2014 that year, following the death of his predecessor, Ado Bayero.
The clarifications by the emirate council are coming less than a week after The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission opened an investigation into allegations of ‘questionable expenditures’ running into billions of naira by the council over a short period of time.
Addressing the press in Kano, Bashir Wali, who as Walin Kano is the traditional official in charge of the finances of the council, said the emirate has spent N4.314 billion within the said period, contrary to the speculated N6 billion. He said the council had N2.8 billion in fixed deposits with various banks, until February 7, 2014 when it expended N981 million on the Ado Bayero Royal City project under the late emir, Ado Bayero, leaving in the kitty a balance of about N1.8 billion.
“The sum of N1.8 billion was the exact amount inherited by His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II, against the alleged claim of N4 billion.” Mr. Wali stated that, amongst other expenditures, the Council spent the sum of N152 million to procurement furniture for the palace after the death of Mr. Bayero, as all the belongings of the late emir, including the furniture items, were removed and distributed to his heirs in accordance with Islamic injunctions.
“The sum of N108 million was also paid to the heirs of the late Emir Ado Bayero by the Emirate Council in respect of his personal cars inherited by the present Emir Muhammadu Sanusi” “The cars now form part of Kano Emirate Council fleet of vehicles in the palace,” he added. Mr. Wali also said the Council used N142 million to purchase two bullet-proof vehicles based on the advice and approval of the state government, especially after the assassination attempt on the former emir.
He denied the allegation that the Council purchased two Rolls Royce executive cars for the Emir. “The two Rolls Royce cars were never purchased by the Emirate Council. The cars were donated to His Highness by his friends,” Mr. Wali said. He also said the Council received the sum of N1.7 billion between June 2014 and March 2017, although, according to him, it ought to have received triple that amount in accordance to the law establishing the Emirate Council Fund 2004. According to the emirate official, the law provides that “the Emirate Council should receive three per cent of the total statutory grants of the 44 local governments and also 10 per cent of what the 44 local governments contributed is to be paid by the state government.” “From 2012 to date, the council has been denied of this contribution,” he stated.
He also said Emir Sanusi upon assumption of office, reviewed the salary structures of the council upward, including their remuneration. “The total monthly pay is now N36 million as against the N9.910 million before September 2014.” Mr. Wali said the state government were fully informed of the review.
The Emirate Council’s secretary and treasurer have been summoned to appear at the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission’s office on May 2 to shed light on how over N4 billion was expended and to present legal instruments backing the expenditure. The emir has been in disagreement with the Governor of Kano, Umar Ganduje, over some of his actions.
Some of the actions include Mr Ganduje’s planned light rail project in Kano, which the emir described as a misplacement of priority. The emir also recently blasted the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, for blaming fornication by Nigerians for the recent outbreak of meningitis in the country.
Mr. Sanusi’s other progressive stance like call for increased girl-child education in northern Nigeria, and call for regulation of polygamy has put him at loggerheads with a largely conservative traditional culture in Kano and northern Nigeria.
His critics, like Mr. Yari, however allege that Mr. Sanusi does not practice what he preaches.