Ex-minister sues Bauchi govt over traditional title withdrawal

A former Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Bello Kirfi, has dragged the Bauchi State government to court to challenge his removal from office as a Senior Councillor in the Bauchi Emirate Council.

The PUNCH had reported that Kirfi, a retired federal civil servant, minister in the government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari in the 1980s and Minister of Special Duties during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo in the 2000s, was stripped of his traditional title as “Wazirin Bauchi” and removed from being a council member for the second time in five years, by the Bauchi Emirate Council for alleged “disloyalty and disrespect” to the State Governor, Bala Mohammed.

The Nonagenarian’s removal was conveyed in a letter addressed to him by the Secretary of the Bauchi Emirate Council, Alh. Shehu Mudi Muhammad, dated January 3rd, 2023 with reference No: BEC/ADM/20/VOL.XV and titled: “Removal from office as a Council Member and Traditional Title of Wazirin Bauchi.”

Muhammad stated in his letter that the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs informed the Emirate Council of Kirfi’s “disloyalty and disrespect” to the governor, hence his removal from office.

He said: “I am directed to refer to a letter received from the Ministry of Local Government Affairs of reference No: MLG/LG/S/72/T dated 30th December, 2022. The content of the said letter indicated your disloyalty and disrespect to the Executive Governor of the State and the government. It therefore directed for your removal with immediate effect.

“In view of the above, you are hereby removed from office as Wazirin Bauchi and also as a Council Member of Bauchi Emirate.”

But in a terse statement signed by his son and official spokesperson, Yakubu Kirfi, and made available to journalists on Wednesday, the former minister said that he had gone to court to challenge his removal.

“The Issue of Removal As Wazirin Bauchi And Council Member on the 3rd January 2023 orchestrated by the State Government via Emirate Council, have Undoubtedly generated controversies in and around the state. Thus, People from all walks of life trooped to the house of Alhaji Muhammad Bello Kirfi on a sympathy and solidarity visit, it’s much appreciated.

“Unambiguously, the matter is currently before the competent court of jurisdiction, which will determine the legality of the purported action by the State Government. So far, there is no Official Press Statement/Release from Alh. Muhammad Bello Kirfi CON,” he wrote.

He also denied media reports in some media platforms (not The PUNCH) that his father vowed to remove governor Bala Mohammed in the 2023 general election because he brought him to office.

He said the story is “unfounded and not genuine”, pointing out that as a Muslim, he believes that Allah gives power and he also takes it.

Yakubu, a former Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General in the administrations of Mohammed Abubakar and Bala Mohammed, said, “Our attention has been drawn to the publications on the 8th and 9th of January, 2023, by some Media Organizations quoting Alh. Dr. Muhammad Bello Kirfi CON to have said that he will unseat Gov. Bala Abdulkadir Muhammed (Kauran Bauchi) in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Bauchi State.

“The story is unfounded and not genuine. Religiously, as Strong believers in the Islamic Article of Faith, We believe power belongs to Allah alone, he gives it to whom he wishes, and takes It when he wishes.”

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