Aliyu Garba Marafa, the first Emir of Yandoto in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria, has conferred on Ado Aleru (Alieru), a terror leader, the title of ‘Sarkin Fulanin ‘Yandoton Daji (King of Fulanis).
The event took place on July 16 at about 2:30 p.m. WAT at Yandoto Emirate Council’s chamber.
“I Aliyu Garba Marafa, the first Emir of Yandoto, do hereby confer and declare Ado Aleru as the new Sarkin Fulanin Yandoton Daji in accordance with the cultural requirements of the Emirate.
“Your appointment and subsequent turbaning today is in line with the demand for peace and reconciliation efforts highly needed for our people in our Emirate, Tsafe local government area, Zamfara State and Nigeria as a whole,” Emir Marafa declared.
Though the occasion met with challenges and criticism from different quarters in the state, which led to its suspension at the scheduled time on the early morning of June 16, it was later resolved by the Tsafe Local Government Council after discussions and deliberations among stakeholders.
The event was attended by dignitaries and Zamfara State’s top government functionaries. These include: State Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, Mohammed Ibrahim Tsafe (retired Police D.I.G), representative of the Commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, and Sole Administrator of Tsafe local government Council, Alhaji Aminu Mudi.
Others at the event were the district heads of Tsafe and Yandoto Emirate Councils of the state.
Earlier in the day, the conferment was suspended following the public’s condemnation of the Council’s decision. This was made known to HumAngle by Secretary of the Emirate Council, Malam Bello Yusuf, in his office at ‘Yandoto.
A resident of Tsafe, Babangida Uba had pointed out that “criticisms and public outcry were few among the reasons for temporarily suspending the conferment.”
However, “the Council of the Emirate is relentlessly working towards the realisation of the event despite all odds. Note that the Emirate is pushing this to happen in the interest of peace and reconciliation among the residents of the area,” Yusuf pointed out.
Residents like Aminu Rabiu, who lives in Yandoto expressed sadness at the postponement. “Those opposing this initiative are ignorant of the true situation we are in here,” he said.
Bala Mewake, a farmer in Yandoto village, lamented that “we gathered here to witness and celebrate with the Emir of Yandoto, His Royal Highness Alhaji Aliyu Garba Marafa over the turbaning of new Sarkin Fulanin Yandoto only to be told that the decision was reversed.”
Responding to the suspension, another resident, Sani Surajo, who is a farmer said, “Terrorist attacks on our villages and communities stopped since the day news of the new traditional title was announced to be conferred on him [Ado Aleru].”
Bello Mohammed Yandoto, who owns seven farmlands described the suspension as “unwise and born out of ill thoughts. The only solution to our peculiar community security problems is to engage these Fulanis and incorporate them into the system. Since the Federal Government can no longer crush them and therefore chose to pay lip service.”
“During his reign of terror, Ado Aleru used to launch ghastly attacks on us at our houses and farms anytime. So we resorted to visiting our farms late morning and returning early afternoon,” Garba Yahaya, another resident, said.
“We can now go to our farms early morning and return as late as we wish, all because of Ado Aleru’s acceptance of the peace agreement and his engagement with the Kingdom,” Idris Yandoto, a retired teacher, added.
However, Kabiru Shehu, also a Tsafe resident, disagreed. “How can you embrace a terrorist without the consent, mediation and involvement of the farmers themselves. Who suffers the least, if you are honest and sincere? The title is the biggest in the Fulani kinship.
Nura Salisu, a farmer and trader, told HumAngle that the arrangement will not work since Ado Aleru himself had several times violated the peace agreement with the Tsafe council of elders.