LAGOS, Nigeria — An outspoken former central bank governor who advocates education and economic opportunities for Nigeria’s majority poor has become a key religious and traditional leader of the country’s Muslims, a counterpoint to Islamic extremists who aim to destroy the Western system of education and who have slaughtered and kidnapped students.

Lamido Sanusi was appointed Sunday as the new emir of Kano, replacing Emir Ado Bayero who died at age 83 and who had survived an assassination attempt by the Islamic militants in January 2013.

On Tuesday, Sanusi received royal swords and traditional insignia in a palace to mark his ascendancy.

Boko Haram, the Islamic insurgent group, sees northern traditional religious leaders as false Muslims who don’t fully implement Islamic law. For their part, the traditional monarchs have declared Boko Haram’s violence as non-Islamic.

As a central bank governor, Sanusi spoke out against corruption and for gender equality, girls’ education and women’s access to finance. He criticized Nigeria’s high illiteracy rate and lack of opportunity, particularly in the Muslim north which is much less developed than the southern commercial center of Lagos lays.

But Boko Haram, which kidnapped hundreds of school girls on April 15, says Western influences and education have created corruption that enriches a few while most people in this oil-rich nation remain impoverished.