“Ndi-Igbo will never forget in a hurry how this enigma helped to smuggle a lot of our people to safety during the great pogrom of 1966.”
The Anambra Central Traditional Rulers Council has recalled how the late Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, protected the Igbos during the 1966 crisis.
The killing of several Igbos in Kano and other parts of Northern Nigeria in 1966 was among the major causes of the Nigerian civil war, 1967-1970.
The traditional rulers, however, said the late emir tried his best to save the Igbos from the killings.
The Chairman of the Council, Chukwuemeka Ilouno, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Onitsha that news of the sudden transition of the emir was shocking.
“It reached us, especially me, with great shock.
“His Eminence, an epitome of humility and humaneness, was not just a most respected traditional ruler but a religious leader par excellence and role model.
“Nigeria has lost a gem, a leader that can never be replaced,’’ he said.
Mr. Ilouno, who is also the traditional ruler of Ifitedunu community in Dunukofia Local Government Area, said Mr. Bayero saved the lives of many members of the Ndi-Igbo while they were distressed during the 1966 pogrom.
“Ndi-Igbo will never forget in a hurry how this enigma helped to smuggle a lot of our people to safety during the great pogrom of 1966.
“He single handedly encouraged Ndi-Igbo to settle comfortably in the north.
“He was one institution that helped to bond the major ethnic groups in Nigeria together. Oh death! Where is thy sting?’’
The traditional ruler prayed for “his gentle soul” to find everlasting peace in the bosom of the Almighty God.