Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

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Muhammad Sanusi II
Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi.jpg
Emir of Kano
Reign8 June 2014 – present
Coronation7 February 2015
PredecessorAdo 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
ReligionSunni Islam
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

Muhammadu Sanusi II (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; born 31st July, 1961) is the 14th Emir of Kano.

He accended the throne in 2014, following the death of his granduncle Ado Bayero. His grandfather Muhammadu Sanusi I reigned from 1953 to 1963, when he was deposed by Premier Ahmadu Bello. His father Aminu Sanusi was Chiroma of Kano.[1]

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.[2]

Family and early life[edit]


Sanusi was born on July 31, 1961 in Kano to a Fulani ruling class family of the Sullubawa clan.[3] His father, Aminu Sanusi, was a career diplomat who served as the Nigerian Ambassador to Belgium, China and Canada. He later served as the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His grandfather, Muhammadu Sanusi I, was the 11th Emir of Kano from 1953 to 1963, when he was deposed by his cousin 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 in 1983, and lectured in the faculty until 1985. He was posted to Gongola for the mandatory National Youth Service Corps.

Banking career[edit]

Early career[edit]

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 September 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.

Central Bank of Nigeria[edit]

Sanusi during the 2013 World Economic Forum summit.

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.[4] In August 2009, Sanusi led the central bank in rescuing five top tier banks with 400 billion of public money and dismissing their chief executives. In September 2009, he said that 15 of the present 24 Nigerian banks might survive reform. In a December 2009 Financial Times interview, Sanusi said that he had initiated extensive banking reforms since taking office (known as the "Sanusi tsunami"). Some believed that he had a vendetta against some CEOs, and others pointed to proof of mismanagement of funds by some CEOs (most notably Cecelia Ibru) as justification for the steps he implemented. According to Sanusi, there was no choice but to attack the powerful and interrelated vested interests who were exploiting the financial system. He expressed appreciation of support from the president, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the finance minister and others.[5]

In January 2010, Sanusi said that the banks would only want to give credit to Nigeria’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) if the government paid adequate attention to infrastructure.[6] He admitted that since 2005, the central bank had not conducted routine examinations of the 14 banks allocated to it under an arrangement with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).[7] At a February 2010 conference on Nigerian banking, Sanusi described his blueprint for reforming the Nigerian financial system. The blueprint was 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.[8] His reforms received criticism and appraisal from the industry. Later that month, Sanusi said that the crash in the capital market was due to financial illiteracy on the part of Nigerian investors.[9]

The Banker recognized him as the 2010 Central Bank Governor of the Year, citing his radical anti-corruption campaign aimed at saving 24 banks on the brink of collapse and pressing for the managers involved in the most blatant cases of corruption to be charged and (in the case of two senior bankers) imprisoned.[10] Sanusi has spoken at a number of distinguished international events.[11] He is recognized 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.

Emir of Kano[edit]

See caption
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.[12] He was crowned Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II on 9 June 2014, the 14th Emir of Kano[13] 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.[14]

2014 Kano bombing[edit]

In November 2014, after Sanusi urged his followers to fight Boko Haram, the Great Mosque of Kano was bombed, with over 150 causalities.[15]In December 2014, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau accused Sanusi of deviating from Islam and threatened his life.[16] Sanusi replied that he is "safe with Allah", and likened Shekau’s extremist Wahhabist comments (describing Sufis as unbelievers) to those of the heretical Islamic preacher Maitatsine.[17]

Socio-political views[edit]

Sanusi has been criticised by conservatives in Northern Nigeria for making several comments on socio-political issues impacting the region. He has called for an end to child marriage, increase in girl-child education, building more schools instead of mosques, and infrastructural development. He has argued for population planning to solve the almajiri problem afflicting the region.[18]

Clash with state government[edit]

Since becoming emir, Sanusi has spoken out on government policies, breaking with royal tradition. He has criticised the government of misplaced priorities. In 2017, the emirate council was under investigation for corruption. [19] Many saw this as retribution over comments he made. The investigation was later called off by the state legislature following intervention by the ruling class.[20] 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, Sanusi will only preside over 10 local government areas out of the 44 in the state.[21]



In 1997, Sanusi received a degree in Sharia and Islamic studies from the International University of Africa in Khartoum.[22] He has contributed several articles and commentary about the implementation of Sharia law in Nigeria.

In the September 2000 Weekly Trust, Sanusi noted the problem of reconciling "belief in the universal and eternal applicability of the Shariah with the need for a wholesale adoption of its historically specific interpretation to meet the requirements of a particular milieu." He added, "Even a cursory student of Islamic history knows that all the trappings of gender inequality present in the Muslim society have socio-economic and cultural, as opposed to religious roots."[23]

At a 2000 Kaduna conference, Sanusi delivered a lecture on Islamic economics entitled "Institutional Framework of Zakat: Dimension and Implications". He argued that although the collection of zakat is a state responsibility, it may be the responsibility of the Nigerian government rather than the emirs of Northern Nigeria. At a July 2001 Abuja seminar, he spoke about "Basic Needs and Redistributive Justice in Islam – The Panacea to Poverty in Nigeria". Sanusi adopted the mainstream position that zakat is an instrument for redistributing income, arguing in favor of giving the role of redistribution to the government.[24]

In October 2002 he published a paper entitled "The Hudhood Punishments in Northern Nigeria: A Muslim Criticism", and presented "The Shari'a Debate and the Construction of a 'Muslim' Identity in Northern Nigeria: A Critical Perspective" at a seminar at the University of Bayreuth in July 2003. In August, Sanusi presented "Democracy, Rights and Islam: Theory, Epistemology and the Quest for Synthesis" at an international conference on Shari'ah Penal and Family Law in Nigeria and in the Muslim World: A Rights-Based Approach in Abuja.[25]

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.[26] He explains that Sharia is not divine but religious, and is neither uniform nor unchanging.[27]


Sanusi was spoken out against corruption in Nigeria. In a 2013 TED talk, he revealed that Nigeria lost a billion dollars a month to diversion of funds under the government of Goodluck Jonathan.[28][29] 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. Alison-Madueke was arrested in London on 2 October 2015.[30]Sanusi believes that he was fired from the Central Bank of Nigeria because he went public with charges that $20 billion was missing from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under Alison-Madueke's management. According to Alison-Madueke, Sanusi made the allegations as part of her lack of aid to get him appointed as president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).[31]

In 2016, he criticised Buhari's anti-corruption war, arguing that the federal government's foreign exchange policy is breeding a nouveau riche and promoting the rentier economy.[32]

Fuel subsidy removal[edit]

Before the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, Sanusi has spoken on numerous occasions in favour of removing the 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.

Other economists and development experts also note that the subsidy is biased in favor of the middle and upper classes, who use most of the fuel. [33] Additionally, some people purchase subsidized gas in Nigeria to resell it in other West African countries.

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 31 July 1961 – 8 June 2012 - Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
  • 8 June 2012 – 8 June 2014 - Dan Maje of Kano[34]
  • Since 8 June 2014 - His Royal Highness, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II


  • In 2011, Time magazine listed him on the 100 most influential people of 2011.[36]


  1. ^ "Welcome to Kano Emirate!". Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Special Report: Anatomy of Nigeria's $20 billion 'leak'". Reuters. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Biography of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Nigeria: Senate Confirms Lamido Sanusi as New CBN Governor". TradeInvest Africa (Cape Town). 4 June 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  5. ^ Tom Burgis (17 December 2009). "FT interview transcript: Lamido Sanusi". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  6. ^ Blessing Anaro (13 January 2010). "Provision of infrastructure, key to SMEs' credit access – Sanusi". Business Day. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  7. ^ Blessing Anaro (11 January 2010). "Sanusi must send clear messages to CBN staff". Business Day. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  8. ^ John Omachonu (22 February 2010). "Waiting for Sanusi's blue print for banking industry resuscitation". Business Day. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  9. ^ Onyinye Nwachukwu (24 February 2010). "Sanusi links capital market crash to financial illiteracy". Business Day. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  10. ^ "Central Bank Governor of the Year 2011". The Banker. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  11. ^ "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
  12. ^ Nigeria’s Muslim north: Modern mind in a seat of tradition, The Economist, 14 June 2014.
  13. ^ "Sanusi' Coronation As Emir: Schools Shut In Kano", PM News, 9 June 2014.
  14. ^ Blueprint (9 February 2015). "At last, a coronation for Emir Sanusi". Blueprint. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  15. ^ Ameh Comrade Godwin (29 November 2014), "Kano blast: 150 worshipers killed in ‘Sanusi’s Mosque’ after he travelled to Saudi Arabia", Daily Post.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Adeoye, Olusola (8 October 2019). "Emir Sanusi: Girl-child education, panacea for unchecked population growth". TODAY. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  19. ^ "Emir Sanusi and the aborted probe". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Kano Assembly suspends Emir Sanusi probe after 'Osinbajo, IBB intervention' - Premium Times Nigeria". 22 May 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  21. ^ "ANALYSIS: How Ganduje's 'fight' with Emir Sanusi alters Kano history - Premium Times Nigeria". 12 May 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  22. ^ "Mr. Sanusi Lamido Aminu Sanusi". Central Bank of Nigeria. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  23. ^ Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (18 September 2000). "Shariah And the Woman Question". Weekly Trust (Kaduna). Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  24. ^ Holger Weiss (2002). Social welfare in Muslim societies in Africa. Nordic Africa Institute. p. 182ff. ISBN 91-7106-481-8.
  25. ^ John N. Paden (2005). Muslim civic cultures and conflict resolution: the challenge of democratic federalism in Nigeria. Brookings Institution Press. p. 274ff. ISBN 0-8157-6817-6.
  26. ^ Ogbu Kalu (2008). African Pentecostalism: an introduction. Oxford University Press US. p. 237. ISBN 0-19-534000-0.
  27. ^ 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)
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Nick Schifrin (2 December 2015). "How a cancer of corruption steals Nigerian oil, weapons and lives". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  30. ^ Jolo Sobuto (12 July 2015). "Ex-minister might have personally supervised stealing of $6bn". Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  31. ^ Jolo Sobuto (7 April 2016). "Panama Papers will expose more Nigerians". Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  32. ^ "Subscribe to read | Financial Times". Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  33. ^ "End them at once!". The Economist. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  34. ^ "The making of the new Dan Majen Kano, Lamido Sanusi, By Maijama'a Sule Tankarkar - Premium Times Nigeria". 8 June 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  35. ^ "Central Bank Governor of the Year 2011". The Banker. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  36. ^ "The 2011 Time 100". Time.

External links[edit]

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