In its continued efforts to find lasting solutions to the menace of banditry, the Zamfara state government has, since 2019, been sanctioning traditional rulers accused of collaborating with the terror gangs that unleash mayhem in the state.
Governor Bello Matawalle has deposed or suspended some of the emirs for allegedly aiding the activities of the terror gangs.
However, according to Premium Times, none of those deposed has been charged with any wrongdoing.
The latest among the traditional rulers sanctioned is the Emir of Yandoton Daji, Aliyu Marafa. He was suspended after he turbaned a wanted terrorist, Ada Aleru, the Sarkin Fulani (the leader of the Fulani) of the emirate.
Here are some of the traditional rulers suspended or deposed for allegedly supporting the terrorists in the state.
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1. Emir of Maru, Abubakar Cika
Governor Matawalle, in August 2019, removed the Emir of Maru, Abubakar Cika, for allegedly supporting gunmen accused of attacking communities and killing several people in his constituency.
The removal of the emir was announced by the then deputy governor, Mahdi Aliyu.
The traditional ruler was removed after a committee found him wanting and recommended his removal.
2. Emir of Zurmi, Atiku Abubakar Muhammad
In June 2021, the governor suspended the Emir of Zurmi, Atiku Abubakar Muhammad,, for allegedly being complicit in the activities of bandits in his domain.
He was suspended after gunmen attacked Kadawa village; 61 people were killed in that attack.
After the suspension, the governor handed over the reins of the emirate to a top chief, Bello Suleiman, pending the report of a committee set up to investigate the incident and the deposed emir’s involvement.
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3. Emir of Dansadau, Hussaini Umar
Also in June 2021, Governor Matawalle suspended the Emir of Dansadau, Hussaini Umar, for aiding terrorists
The government set up a committee chaired by the state’s commissioner for security affairs, Mamman Tsafe, a retired deputy Inspector general of police, to investigate the connection between the emir and criminal gangs in the area.
4. District Head of Kanoma, Lawali Ahmad
The district head of Kanoma in Maru emirate, Lawali Ahmad, was also removed in 2019, alongside his emir, Abubakar Chika, for the same alleged offence.
5. District Head of Nasarawa Mailaya, Bello Wakkala
The district head of Nasarawa Mailaya, in Zurmi council area, Bello Wakkala, was also removed alongside the emir of Zurmi in 2021 for allegedly supporting or conniving with the terrorists,
6. District Head of Birnin Tsaba, Suleiman Danyabi
Also in 2021, the Zamfara state government removed the District Head of Birnin Tsaba in Zurmi Emirate, Suleiman Danyabi, for the same reason.
7. District Head of Kanwa, Garba Kanwa
In January 2020 the governor suspended the district head of Kanwa, Garba Kanwa, from Zurmi and local government for allegedly aiding banditry.
8. District Head of Burmi, Bello Yusuf
Governor Matawalle also in 2020 suspended the district head of Burmi, Bello Yusuf, from Bakura local government for allegedly aiding banditry.
Both Kanwa and Yusf were also accused of insubordination. Both men were accused of opposing the government’s peace programs and for political interference.
Premium Times noted that none of the dismissed traditional rulers has been charged despite the enormity of the accusations for which they were removed from office.
9. Emir of Yandoton Daji, Aliyu Marafa
The Emir of Yandoton Daji, Aliyu Marafa, was suspended for turbaning a wanted terrorist, Ada Aleru, the Sarkin Fulani (the leader of the Fulani) of the emirate.
10. District Head of Kankara,Yusuf Lawal
In May 2021, the District Head of Kankara, in Katsina state, Yusuf Lawal, was suspended for alleged complicity in terrorism.
The Secretary of the Katsina Emirate Council, Bello Ifo, said the district head was found guilty by a committee that investigated his alleged association with bandits.
The committee said Lawal was guilty of aiding and siding with criminals, including kidnappers operating in the Kankara axis and recommended his removal.
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According to Premium Times, residents said some of the traditional rulers side with the gunmen out of fear for their own lives.
According to the residents, security agents seldom respond to distress calls or act on intelligence reports passed over to them by these traditional rulers.
Matawalle bars traditional rulers from awarding chieftaincy titles without approval
Meanwhile, Governor Matawalle, on Wednesday, July 20, barred traditional leaders and institutions in the state from awarding chieftaincy titles without approval.
The Zamfara state governor, in a statement by his special adviser on public enlightenment, media and communication, Zailani Bappa, said there should be no conferment of any traditional title in the state without approval from him.
According to Bappa, all Emirs, senior district heads and district heads in the state are hereby directed to officially seek permission from the state government before conferring traditional titles to anyone.