Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Muhammadu Sanusi II (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; born 31 July 1961) was the 14th Emir of Kano from the Fulani Sullubawa clan. He ascended the throne in 2014, following the death of his great uncle Ado Bayero.[1] On 9 March 2020, he was deposed by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.[2][3]

Muhammadu Sanusi II
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi 01.png
Emir of Kano
Reign8 June 2014 – 9 March 2020
Coronation7 February 2015
PredecessorAdo Bayero
SuccessorAminu Ado Bayero
Born (1961-07-31) 31 July 1961 (age 58)
Kano, Northern Region, Federation of Nigeria
Full name
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
Regnal name
Muhammad Sanusi II
FatherAminu Sanusi
MotherSaudatu Hussain

Prior to his accession, Sanusi was an economist and banker. He served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014, when he was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan after raising the alarm on the US$20 billion NNPC scandal.[4]

Early lifeEdit


Sanusi was born on 31 July 1961 in Kano to a ruling class Fulani family of the Sullubawa clan.[5] His father, Aminu Sanusi, was a career diplomat who served as the Nigerian Ambassador to Belgium, China and Canada, and later served as the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was also the Chiroma of Kano.[6] His grandfather, Muhammadu Sanusi I, was the 11th Emir of Kano from 1953 until 1963, when he was deposed by his cousin Sir Ahmadu Bello.


Sanusi was educated at King's College, Lagos, where he graduated in 1977. He then proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, where he received a bachelor's degree in economics in 1981. He later received a masters degree in economics two years later from the university and lectured at the faculty.[7]

Banking careerEdit

Early careerEdit

In 1985, Sanusi was hired by Icon Limited (a subsidiary of Morgan Guaranty Trust) and Barings Bank. In 1997, he joined the United Bank for Africa, working in the credit and risk management division. He rose through the ranks to the position of general manager. In 2005, Sanusi became a board member and executive director in charge of risk and management control at First Bank of Nigeria. First Bank is Nigeria's oldest bank, and one of Africa's largest financial institutions. In January 2009, he was appointed CEO. Sanusi was the first northern Nigerian to head the bank.

On 1 June 2009, Sanusi was nominated as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua; his appointment was confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on 3 June 2009, during a global financial crisis.[8]

Central Bank of NigeriaEdit

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria
In office
3 June 2009 – 20 February 2014
PresidentUmaru Yar'Adua
Goodluck Jonathan
Preceded byCharles Soludo
Succeeded bySarah Alade
Sanusi in Davos at the 2013 World Economic Forum

Sanusi's tenure initiated several extensive banking reforms.[9]The reforms were built around four pillars: enhancing the quality of banks, establishing financial stability, enabling healthy financial sector evolution and ensuring that the financial sector contributes to the real economy.[10] Sanusi said that the crash in the capital market was due to financial illiteracy on the part of Nigerian investors.[11]

He led the central bank in rescuing top tier banks with 400 billion of public money and dismissed their chief executives. He also introduced a consolidation process which reduced the number of Nigerian banks through merger and acquisitions, in a bid to make them stronger and more accountable to depositors. He also advised the government to increase the level of investment in infrastructure.[12]

His reforms received both criticism and appraisal from the industry. Sanusi has spoken at a number of distinguished international events.[13]The Banker recognised him as the 2010 Central Bank Governor of the Year, for his reforms and leading an radical anti-corruption campaign in the sector.[14] Sanusi is recognised in the banking industry for his contribution to a risk management culture in Nigerian banking.


In 2014, after raising the alarm on the US$20 billion NNPC scandal, Sanusi was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan.[15]

Emir of KanoEdit

Sanusi before the Durbar in September 2016


Sanusi was selected to succeed his granduncle, Ado Bayero, as the Emir of Kano on 8 June 2014. His appointment was controversial, with some believing that it was a politically-motivated move to avoid fraud charges from his tenure at the central bank. Many expected Bayero's son to succeed him as emir, and protested Sanusi's appointment.[16] He was crowned Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II on 9 June 2014, the 14th Emir of Kano[17] and leader of the Tijaniyya Sufi order, the second-most-important Muslim position in Nigeria after the Sultan of Sokoto, leader of the larger Qadiriyya Sufi order.[18]

2014 Kano bombingEdit

Main article: 2014 Kano bombing

In November 2014, after Sanusi urged his followers to fight Boko Haram, the Great Mosque of Kano was bombed, with over 150 casualties.[19] In December 2014, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau accused Sanusi of deviating from Islam and threatened his life.[20] Sanusi replied that he is "safe with Allah", and likened Shekau's extremist comments (describing Sufis as unbelievers) to those of the heretical Islamic preacher Maitatsine.[21]

Socio-political viewsEdit

Sanusi has been criticised by conservatives in Northern Nigeria for making several comments on socio-political issues impacting the region.[22] He has called for an end to child marriage, building more schools instead of mosques, and infrastructural development.[23][24] Sanusi has called for population planning, and has said that polygamy is increasing poverty in the region.[25][26] Sanusi has also advocated for eugenics to solve the almajiri issue.[27]

Clash with state governmentEdit

During his reign, Sanusi spoke out on government policies, breaking with royal tradition.[28] He criticised the government of misplaced priorities.[29] In 2017, the emirate council was under investigation for corruption.[30] Many saw this as retribution over comments he made.[31] The investigation was later called off by the state legislature following intervention by the ruling class.[32] In 2019, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje signed into law the creation of four new emirates. This unprecedented move saw Sanusi's traditional domain as emir reduced. According to the law, the Kano emir will only preside over 10 local government areas out of the 44 in the state.[33] In March 2020, the state legislature launched a new investigation on Sanusi for violation of traditional practices,[34] this was coming after a high court ruling restraining the corruption investigation against Sanusi.[35]


On 9 March 2020, Sanusi was deposed by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.[36] Sanusi was in his private residence in Gidan Rumfa when he learnt of his removal, while awaiting for state officials to formally serve him the deposition letter a contingent of police, military, and security operatives stormed the palace.[37] In a video, Sanusi accepted his deposition as a divine act and urged his supporters to remain calm and avoid bloodshed.[38] He also urged them to declare bay'ah to his successor Aminu Ado Bayero, and stated “It is a thing of pride that made us to rule and end in the same fashion as the Khalifa,” in reference to his grandfather Muhammadu Sanusi I, who was also deposed and exiled in 1963.[39]

Sanusi was later informed of his exile from Kano to Nasarawa State.[40] Initially wanting to serve his exile in Lagos with his family,[41] his request was denied and was later escorted out of the palace under heavy guard to a military air base.[42] His lawyers subsequently announced they are going to challenge his arbitrary exile in court.[43] Sanusi was then flown to Abuja, en-route to Loko in Nassarawa.[44][45] On 10 March, he was relocated from Loko via police helicopter to Awe a remote local government area in the state.[46] On 13 March, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the release of Sanusi,[47] he subsequently left Awe together with Governor Nasir El Rufai,[48] after leading Friday prayers in full regalia to Lagos.[49]



Further information: Sharia in Nigeria

In 1997, Sanusi received a degree in Sharia and Islamic studies from the International University of Africa in Khartoum.[50] He has contributed to the debate about Sharia in Nigeria. He explains that "belief in the universal and eternal applicability of the sharia with the need for a wholesale adoption of its historically specific interpretation to meet the requirements of a particular milieu."[51]

He has argued that although the collection of zakat is a state responsibility, it may be the responsibility of the federal government rather than the emirs of Northern Nigeria. Sanusi has adopted the mainstream position that zakat is an instrument for redistributing income, arguing in favor of giving the role of redistribution to the government.[52]

Sanusi's position has two underlying themes: Islam is concerned with delivering justice and should not be a tool for self-seeking political agendas, and the Wahhabist rhetoric of fundamentalists counters genuine Muslim interests.[53] He explains that Sharia is not divine but religious, and is neither uniform nor unchanging.[54]


Further information: Corruption in Nigeria

As central bank governor, he led a radical anti-corruption campaign, dismissing Cecilia Ibru and other bank heads who had mismanaged customer deposits, and (in the case of two senior bankers) imprisoned. According to Sanusi, there was no choice but to attack the powerful and interrelated vested interests who were exploiting the financial system. Sanusi has spoken on numerous occasions in favour of removing the fuel subsidy. He cites the high level of corruption engendered by the practice, the inefficiency of subsidizing consumption instead of production (leading to slower economic growth), and the fact that the government borrows money to finance the subsidy—taxing future generations so present Nigerians can consume more fuel.

Sanusi revealed that Nigeria lost a billion dollars a month to diversion of funds under the Jonathan administration.[55]The PBS segment quoted American and British officials that former petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke might have organized a diversion of $6 billion (₦1.2 trillion) from the Nigerian treasury.[56]Alison-Madueke said Sanusi made the allegations due to her refusal to get him appointed as president of the African Development Bank, which Sanusi rejected.[57] In 2015, Alison-Madueke was arrested in London.[58] Sanusi has criticised Buhari's anti-corruption war, arguing that his administration's foreign exchange policy is creating a nouveau riche class and promoting the rentier economy.[59]

Titles, styles and honoursEdit

Titles and stylesEdit

  • 31 July 1961 – 8 June 2012 - Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
  • 8 June 2012 – 8 June 2014 - Dan Maje of Kano[60]
  • 8 June 2014 – 9 March 2020 - His Royal Highness, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II
  • Since 9 March 2020 - His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II


  • In 2011, Time magazine listed him on the 100 most influential people of 2011.[62]


  1. ^ Clifford, Igbo. "Sanusi Lamido Sanusi Biography, Age, Early Life, Career, Net Worth And More". Information Guide Africa. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  2. ^ Bukar, Muhammad (9 March 2020). "BREAKING: Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi dethroned". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Kano dethrones Emir Sanusi". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Special Report: Anatomy of Nigeria's $20 billion 'leak'". Reuters. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Biography of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Welcome to Kano Emirate!". Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Sanusi Lamido - Sanusi, Banker, Civil Servant, Emir of Kano, Governor of the Central Bank, Nigeria Personality Profiles". Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Nigeria: Senate Confirms Lamido Sanusi as New CBN Governor". TradeInvest Africa (Cape Town). 4 June 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  9. ^ Tom Burgis (17 December 2009). "FT interview transcript: Lamido Sanusi". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  10. ^ John Omachonu (22 February 2010). "Waiting for Sanusi's blue print for banking industry resuscitation". Business Day. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  11. ^ Onyinye Nwachukwu (24 February 2010). "Sanusi links capital market crash to financial illiteracy". Business Day. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  12. ^ Blessing Anaro (13 January 2010). "Provision of infrastructure, key to SMEs' credit access – Sanusi". Business Day. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Warwick Economics Summit 2012 Programme
  14. ^ "Central Bank Governor of the Year 2011". The Banker. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  15. ^ "Sanusi's suspension legal or illegal?".
  16. ^ Nigeria’s Muslim north: Modern mind in a seat of tradition, The Economist, 14 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Sanusi' Coronation As Emir: Schools Shut In Kano", PM News, 9 June 2014.
  18. ^ Blueprint (9 February 2015). "At last, a coronation for Emir Sanusi". Blueprint. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  19. ^ Ameh Comrade Godwin (29 November 2014), "Kano blast: 150 worshipers killed in ‘Sanusi’s Mosque’ after he travelled to Saudi Arabia", Daily Post.
  20. ^ Mustapha Muhammad (18 December 2014), "Boko Haram kidnaps 191, murders dozens as the group threatens Muslim leader for telling Nigerians to fight back", National Post.
  21. ^ Ibrahim Shuaibu (21 December 2014),"I’m Safe with Allah, Emir Sanusi Replies Boko Haram" Archived 3 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, This Day Live.
  22. ^ "The misinterpretation of Emir Sanusi II, by Gimba Kakanda". Daily Nigerian. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  23. ^ Akinwotu, Emmanuel (25 August 2017). "Lamido Sanusi, Kano's 'progressive fraud', takes aim at child marriage in Nigeria | Emmanuel Akinwotu". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
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  25. ^ Piling, David (16 March 2018). "The Emir of Kano on polygamy and Nigeria's 'missing billions'". Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  26. ^ "Polygamy causing poverty, backwardness in North – Sanusi". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  27. ^ "Sanusi advocates family planning as solution to 'almajiri,' other social vices". 26 December 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  28. ^ "Emir of Kano in double trouble as state lawmakers decide to probe him too". Pulse Nigeria. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  29. ^ Published. "$30bn loan: Sanusi hits Buhari's govt, says FG lacks right policies". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  30. ^ "Emir Sanusi and the aborted probe". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  31. ^ Independent. "Emir of Kano facing graft probe".
  32. ^ "Kano Assembly suspends Emir Sanusi probe after 'Osinbajo, IBB intervention' - Premium Times Nigeria". 22 May 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  33. ^ "ANALYSIS: How Ganduje's 'fight' with Emir Sanusi alters Kano history - Premium Times Nigeria". 12 May 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  34. ^ "Kano Assembly commences fresh probe of Emir Sanusi". Vanguard News. 4 March 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  35. ^ Adewale, Murtala. "Court restrains Kano anti-corruption from probing Emir Sanusi". Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  36. ^ Bukar, Muhammad (9 March 2020). "BREAKING: Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi dethroned". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
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  41. ^ "How Emir Sanusi was forced to Nasarawa against his will - Legal team". Daily Trust. 10 March 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  42. ^ "Dethroned Emir of Kano Sanusi II leaves palace [video]". The Sun Nigeria. 9 March 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  43. ^ Ibrahim, Yusha’u A.; Kano (10 March 2020). "JUST IN: Deposed Emir Sanusi to challenge banishment in court". Daily Trust. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  44. ^ "Photos: Dethroned Emir Sanusi banished from Kano - P.M. News". Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  45. ^ Muhammad, Ibraheem Hamza (10 March 2020). "Deposed emir in Nasarawa village". Daily Trust. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
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  49. ^ Abogonye, Abel (13 March 2020). "Sanusi leads friday jumaat prayers in Awe central Mosque". The Guardian.
  50. ^ "Mr. Sanusi Lamido Aminu Sanusi". Central Bank of Nigeria. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  51. ^ Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (18 September 2000). "Shariah And the Woman Question". Weekly Trust (Kaduna). Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  52. ^ Holger Weiss (2002). Social welfare in Muslim societies in Africa. Nordic Africa Institute. p. 182ff. ISBN 91-7106-481-8.
  53. ^ Ogbu Kalu (2008). African Pentecostalism: an introduction. Oxford University Press US. p. 237. ISBN 0-19-534000-0.
  54. ^ Wendy Chavkin, Ellen Chesler (2005). Where human rights begin: health, sexuality, and women in the new millennium. Rutgers University Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-8135-3657-X.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  55. ^ Jola Sobutu (12 July 2015). "'Nigeria was losing $1bn a month under Jonathan,' Emir says [VIDEO]: Sanusi, a former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, made the comment again during a PBS interview on December 2, 2015". Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  56. ^ Nick Schifrin (2 December 2015). "How a cancer of corruption steals Nigerian oil, weapons and lives". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
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  58. ^ "Nigeria's ex-oil minister Alison-Madueke arrested in London: sources". Reuters. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
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  61. ^ "Central Bank Governor of the Year 2011". The Banker. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  62. ^ "The 2011 Time 100". Time.
  63. ^ "SOAS Honorary Doctorate His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II discusses Africa's future at SOAS graduation | SOAS University of London". Retrieved 10 March 2020.

External linksEdit

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
Born: 31 July 1961
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ado Bayero
Emir of Kano
Succeeded by
Aminu Ado Bayero