…It’s Sacrilegious, Threat to Peace, Security…Edo Government …We’ll Resist Any Evil Acts…Benin Solidarity Movement …Our People Should be Eternally Vigilant…Politician …Our Language Was Misunderstood…Organisers Although organizers of the coronation of a Sultan for the Shua Arabs in Edo, earlier slated for this weekend in Benin City, the state capital, have shelved the event and extended
…It’s Sacrilegious, Threat to Peace, Security…Edo Government
…We’ll Resist Any Evil Acts…Benin Solidarity Movement
…Our People Should be Eternally Vigilant…Politician
…Our Language Was Misunderstood…Organisers
Although organizers of the coronation of a Sultan for the Shua Arabs in Edo, earlier slated for this weekend in Benin City, the state capital, have shelved the event and extended an olive branch both to the government and the Oba of Benin, seething anger, disgust and mistrust grows amongst many indigenes who consider the move as an affront and another variant of the increasing invasion of their space.
They also fear that this may just be part of a dress rehearsal and a larger agenda of the domination of the southern space by people of apostles of Islamic Jihad and are therefore calling for eternal vigilance to check this.
“These people are merely flying a kite. Once they succeed in their bid to coronate a Sultan in Edo, their next target will be the bigger pie of installing an Emir in Lagos. We are in for serious wahala! We really cannot trust them that they’ve barked down on this,” a top Edo politician who does not want his name revealed told this writer at the weekend.
“Our people should not lower their guards but be alert and eternally vigilant as the forces pushing for this will certainly not relent,” he argues.
The move to coronate a Sultan for the Shua Arabs in the nation’s heartbeat state is not helped by the heightening cases of kidnapping, killings, invasion of farmlands, raping of women, occupation of rich Edo forests and other criminal activities in which armed Fulani herdsmen have been fingered as culprits.
The not too assuring responses from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari which treats these incidents of criminalities by this group with kid gloves have also stoked growing anger amongst the people. It’s recent directive to map out grazing routes in 25 states, interpreted as part of the grand design to bow to the demands of Miyetti Allah which has been loud in pressing government to allocate lands to the Fulani has further fueled distrust.
Irked by what it calls “frightening insecurity in Esanland” and the spate of criminal activities on the Benin City-Ekpoma road, the Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI) penultimate Friday called for the armed herdesmen to be given a timeline to exit Edo forests or be forced out.
“EOI is concerned about insecurity on the highway between Benin City and Ekpoma; and particularly within Esanland. Our people can no longer travel to Benin City, the state capital, to transact business without the risk of falling into the hands of kidnappers and bandits.
“We wonder whether the security forces have given up and allow these criminal gangs to operate freely without inhibitions day and night, on this road .
“In addition, the entire Esanland has been seized by the jugular by these marauders and kidnappers, who have killed scores, maimed, raped our women, destroyed farmlands and property, and induced payment of ransoms by their hapless victims.
“No day has passed in recent times, without reports of these bandits wreaking havoc on innocent and law-abiding Esan people, many of whom have been forced to abandon their farmlands and trades for fear of being raped, maimed, killed or kidnapped and made an object of ransom negotiations and payments.
“The situation has become dire, as our people, who are subsistent farmers, are now faced with scarcity of farm produce and high prices of the few available goods.
“Famine is imminent, as farmers have abandoned their farms, as the bandits have laid siege to all farmlands and major roads in Esanland,” the organization’s President, Rt Hon Mathew Egbadon, a former Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, warns.
In response to the people’s growing apprehension about the event, the Edo State Government has condemned, in strong terms, the planned coronation of Idriss Addano as the ‘Sultan of Shuwa Arab of Edo State’, describing the purported move as sacrilegious and a threat to peace and security in the state.
In a statement, Secretary to the Edo State Government, Mr Osarodion Ogie, assured citizens that firm and decisive action will be taken to prevent the actualization of the illegal and sacrilegious act.
The statement reads: “The Edo State Government has been inundated with complaints from indigenes and residents of the state over the purported move to embark on the coronation of one Idriss Addano as ‘Sultan of Shuwa Arab of Edo State’.
“The Edo State Government wishes to state as follows: That whether or not this event is held at the said, or any other location within the state, it would constitute a direct assault on the traditions, custom and culture of the people of Edo State, by individuals who clearly have sinister motives and are trying to abuse the well-known Edo hospitality by their act of sacrilege.
“That it is a potential threat to the peace and security of Edo State, with the capacity to cause a breakdown of law and order as citizens of the state are likely to be provoked by the obnoxious ceremony.
“Under the Edo State Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law, it is an offence for anyone to proclaim himself, or allow himself to be proclaimed as the holder of any traditional title not recognized under the said law and/or without the approval of the appropriate authorities.”
According to Ogie, “The state government hereby wishes to assure all concerned that firm and decisive action will be taken to prevent the actualization of this illegal and sacrilegious act and that all persons found to have been involved in the conception and/or execution would face the full wrath of the law.”
“The Edo State Government, therefore, calls on all citizens to be calm, law-abiding and rest assured that government is firmly on top of the situation,” he assured.
But Leader of the Shua Arabs in Edo State, Mr Idris Adanno says the controversy that has surrounded the purported plan to coronate a sultan of Shua Arab in Benin City which has stirred the hornet nests was caused by language mix up.
Speaking to journalists in Benin City on Friday morning, Adanno who is at the centre of the controversy, pledged his people’s absolute loyalty to the state government and the Oba of Benin who he said is their father.
“The whole issue was misunderstood because of the language used. All the tribes from the North who are resident in Edo State are all under the Sarkin Hausawa but we all now have our individual sarkin like those of Kanuri, Nupe, and others.
“In our Shua language, Sultan is our own sarkin and we only wanted to celebrate my appointment as the head of Shua Arab in Benin because we are the second-largest local ethnic group from the North. We are all under Sarkin Hausawa of Benin who gave us an introductory letter which we submitted before the Governor of the state, the Oba of Benin, and the Secretary to State Government.
“We are all law-abiding citizens and under the laws of the state. We are also loyal to our royal father the Oba of Benin who is father to all of us. We apologise to the state government for the mix-up and as law abiding citizens, we have also cancelled all the activities we wanted to do as directed by the state government.”
Corroborating this position, the Sarkin Hausawa of Benin, Alhaji Adamu Isa said the whole incident was because of the choice of language.
He said, “They are a community resident in Edo and they have a large percentage of their people here too, they are into cattle breeding and other businesses. The thing is a misuse of language from them.
“About five months ago, they came to me that since they are large, they wanted to have a traditional head so I told them to go and look for someone among them who is going to be their leader and so they came with one Idris and then some issues came up then I asked them to go and resolve it.
“I gave them a date to come back. And then we did the turban of their leader so that in case we have issues concerning them, we know who to hold responsible.
“The whole issue was misunderstood. I was born and bred here in Benin, my father was born and bred here in Benin so I understand the tradition and custom of the land and the laws of the state. It was just a misuse of language. Sultan in their own language means sarkin.”
The planned coronation had incensed many Bini people who saw the move as an attempt to divide the revered Bini Kingdom under Oba Ewuare 11nd.
President, One Love Foundation, Mr Patrick Osagie Eholor who commended the government of Governor Godwin Obaseki for responding decisively to check the move says, “The act itself which amounts to crowning an insidious nomad king over existing natural kings amounts to an open and mortifying declaration of war by a band of urban bandits who are apparently on espionage for clandestine Fulani expansionist forces in Nigeria against the proud, indomitable and freeborn nation of Edo people in particular and the freeborn people of Southern Nigeria in general.”
Speaking in the same vein, President, Benin Solidarity Movement (BSM), Mr Curtis Eghosa Ugbo, asserted that Benin indigenes will do whatever it will take to resist what he described as “evil act” by persons who are bent on fomenting trouble.
“This will never happen in Benin Kingdom, we are Benin,” Ugbo added.
Also reacting, the Coordinator-General of Great Benin Descendants (GBD), Imasuen Izoduwa said the organization would meet and lock up the hotel-venue of the coronation, for allowing “such nonsense” in the land.
“We will meet later today so we can lock up that hotel by tomorrow or next for allowing such nonsense in our land. Enough is enough, I will no longer take any of this in our Kingdom,” he said.
Rialto Hotel Management, the proposed venue of the event also distanced its facility from reports widely published in the media about the coronation invitation of Idriss Addano as the Sultan of Shuwa Arab of Edo state.
Chief Executive of Rialto, Mr Osazuwa Aiwerioghenne Iduriase warned the organisers of the event to desist from quoting its facility in their invitation cards.
Iduriase’s words, Those planning to use Rialto Hotel for such coronation should desist immediately.
The hotel claimed that the said group has not made any financial commitment to Rialto for the said even, but went ahead to publicise it in the media, a situation best described as a calculated attempt to bring down the name of Rialto’s owner to public ridicule and disrepute. It also said that the organisers never told them they were holding a coronation event but a party.