The emir of Zazzau in Kaduna State, Ahmed Bamalli, has approved suspended four district heads from participating in the subsequent Durbar festival for allegedly using thugs to disrupt public peace during the just concluded Sallah celebration.
The thugs, locally known as Yan Tauri, were brandishing weapons during the traditional durbar ceremony performed immediately after Eid prayers called ‘Hawan Sallah’.
During the ceremony, district heads and traditional title holders of the Zazzau emirate wearing ceremonial regalia usually pass by the emir with their entourage.
This year the emirate warned district heads not to have such Yan Tauri thugs among their entourage during the procession.
Among those suspended is the son of the late Emir of Zazzau, Bashir Shehu Idris, who is the district head of Soba, and a member of the Kaduna State House of Representatives, Wakilin Birnin Zazzau, Suleiman Ibrahim Dabo.
Other suspended district heads are Uban Garin Zazzau, the district head of Soba; the district head of Kubau, Shehu Umar Aliyu, Wakilin Birnin Zazzau and Garkuwan kudu Zazzau and Bursar, Federal College of Education, Zaria, Muhammad Sani Uwais.
The media and publicity officer of the Emirate, Abdullahi Aliyu Kwarbai, in a statement seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday said the action of the district heads violated a standing order against such acts and therefore; they were suspended with immediate effect.
Mr Kwarbai said the district heads violated Article 3 of the emirate rules and regulations governing durbar horse riding.
“The rule directs all titleholders against the use of local thugs known as ‘Yan Tauri brandishing local weapons during any occasion.
“And the four district heads have violated this rule during the traditional Sallah durbar, despite a series of warnings.
A source from the emirate, who doesn’t want his name to be published because he is not authorisd to speak, told PREMIUM TIMES that this order was invoked by the emirate to prevent bad people from taking advantage of the celebrations to disrupt the festivities.
“You know what we are facing in Kaduna and even Zaria. The issue of insecurity is making things difficult. The emirate did this so anything thuggery will not be part of this celebration.
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“The security operatives will be able to identify who is a bad egg among the people but the district heads ignore the order and went ahead to invite the ‘Yan Tauri’. If you are there you will see the kind of dangerous weapons they are (were) holding. Any bad person could have taken advantage of it and it would have been bad.”
Suleiman Dabo reacts
PREMIUM TIMES spoke with Mr Dabo, one of the suspended district heads. He said he had met with the emir to clarify the matter and narrated to him what exactly happened.
Mr Dabo said he was represented at the event but his representatives did not have the ‘Yan Tauri thugs in their midst.
“I want to say it here that it was a mistake from those who reported my case. First of all, I was not the person riding the horse that day because I returned from Saudi Arabia that Sallah morning.
“I asked my younger brother to represent me. And what happened was my riders rode from my home well organised in a good manner but on getting to the entrance gate where you will meet the emir who is seated and watching, some of the thugs ‘Yan Tauri’ standing by the entrance jumped into my entourage and started displaying with swords, knives and sticks. We never had them in our entourage.
“We never know them and we don’t know how they came to that place and join my people.”
Mr Dabo also said he has met with the emirate and the emir and told him what really happened.
“I also show the emir video of my procession and my riders from my home to the palace and how unknowingly the ‘Yan Tauri’ joined my riders. He has seen it. I am sure the emirate is looking at my case.
“I am a member of the House, a government official. I should safeguard not break laws. And again let me clear the air, the suspension is for participating in subsequent durbar not from our throne pending the decision of the emirate after listening to all of us.”