Britain's Prince Charles stands with the Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi as they look at a book during his meeting with Traditional…
FILE - Britain's Prince Charles stands with the Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi as they look at a book during his meeting with Traditional Leaders at the British High Commission residence in Abuja, Nov. 6, 2018.

KANO, NIGERIA - The influential traditional ruler of northern Nigeria's largest city of Kano was on Monday removed from his position after a long-running row with the authorities.

The Emir of Kano is by tradition the second most senior Islamic ruler in Africa's most populous nation, after the Sultan of Sokoto.

Emir Lamido Sanusi, who ascended the throne in 2014, was accused of "disrespect to lawful instructions," the state government said in a statement.

The government said his removal was also to safeguard the "sanctity, culture, tradition, religion and prestige" of the Kano state emirate established over a millennium ago.

Sanusi, a former head of Nigeria's central bank, has been at loggerheads with state governor Abdullahi Ganduje due to his outspokenness against the authorities and allegations he supported the opposition at last year's elections.

Ganduje won re-election as governor and quickly ordered the creation of four new emirates in Kano, in a bid to reduce Sanusi's control and influence.

The traditional ruler has also been probed by state lawmakers for allegedly having misappropriated funds meant for his office.

The embattled emir denies the charges.

In his previous job as central bank chief, the 58-year-old was credited with reforming Nigeria's under-performing banking sector.

But he was sacked from that role in February 2014 after he accused the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of not remitting some 20 billion dollars to state coffers.

Last month, the outspoken emir accused political and religious leaders in the north of not doing enough for the region, which he said widened the poverty gap between the mainly-Muslim north and the majority-Christian south.