Written by Austine ELEMUE

Protest Rocks FCTA Over Appointment Of Sarkin Bwari

The leadership crisis rocking the appointment of Sarkin Bwari has taken a dangerous dimension as indigenes of Bwari staged a protest to the office of FCT Minister on Tuesday demanding one paramount ruler for Bwari chiefdom.

They alleged that the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, did not consult with the kingmakers in Bwari before the appointment of the new Sarkin, a development they said is unacceptable.

Leader of the youth group, Comrade Awoyi John, explained that the process in the selection of who becomes paramount ruler in Bwari was distorted during Gen. Sani Abacha’s regime who appointed a parallel leader in the community.

According to him, “the Bwari throne was founded in the 20th centuries and the Etsu of Bwari has been the custodian of the traditional stool of the place.

“The sudden change in the appointment of another traditional ruler is actually threatening the peaceful coexistence of the people becau7se the mistake that was made during Abacha period, is now telling on the people. The minister did not consult anybody and neither did he consult the kingmakers before appointing Alhaji Awwal".

Specifically, the Gbagyi and other local people have expressed disappointment over the appointment of a settler with Hausa title for a town that is predominantly of Gbagyi nationality.

Also a palace chief in Etsu palace who do not want his name in print told our correspondent that enough of imposition of settlers on the indigenous people of Bwari by the FCT Administration, saying "we cannot have two captains in one ship.”

According to our source, "It is on record that the late Sarkin came from Niger state as a tax collector to settle in Bwari. We the indigenous people accepted them wholeheartedly and extended hand of fellowship to them. However, as a result of their exposure with other ethnic nationalities, they started lording it over us. We have tolerated this imposition for so long and we have come to the realization that enough is enough because you cannot have two captains in one ship".

The source however threatened to take the matter to court if the FCT Administration fails to address the illegality over the appointment of a Sarkin in Bwari chiefdom.

When contacted, the Director in charge of Chieftaincy Matters and Community Relations in the FCT Area Council Service Secretariat, Mr. Jubril Shaba, described the claim the Etsu Bwari’s palace as false and lacks basis, stressing that the development is normal with the pronouncement of a new traditional chief.

Shaba, revealed that the Sarkin Bwari was turbaned before the Ona of Abaji and the Sarkin is among 14 traditional rulers recognised by law by the FCT Administration.

"Bwari is an ancient town in the FCT. The claim that the late Sarkin came to settle in Bwari in 1976 is not true because he celebrated his 40th anniversary on the throne last year 2016 before his death this year. He was appointed in 1976 as the District Head of Bwari.

"He later appointed all the secretaries that served at the village level at that time. They called them Mai-Angwa. His territory extends to far areas. He rules over Dutse, Mpape, Maitama down to Kubwa. These are areas he controlled at that time. However, there was a committee report in 1997 headed by Mamman Nasir of blessed memory who recommended 19 graded Chiefs for FCT, and also recommended that the Sarkin should be upgraded to 1st Class Chief, but was later given 2nd Class Chief.

"He was the first to be turbaned on July 23, 1997 by Late Jeremiah Usani, before Ona was even turbaned. Later the Etsu palace was created. The Etsu was recognised as a 3rd Class Chief, but it was not gazzetted. We have 14 gazetted chiefs in the FCT", Shaba stated.

The director acknowledged that there have been prolonged rivalry between the Sarkin and Etsu palace of territorial control, while expressing hope that it will soon be over.

It could be recalled that the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, had approved the appointment of Alhaji Awwal Musa Ijakoro as the new Sarkin Bwari in Bwari Area Council of the FCT.

Ijakoro succeeds his late father, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Muhammad Musa Ijakoro, who died on August 29, 2017.

In a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to FCT Minister, Cosmas Uzodinma, stated that the appointment of the new Sarkin Bwari was done pursuant to the powers conferred on the FCT minister under the relevant sections of the FCT Chiefs (Appointment & Deposition) Act, 1997 and in accordance with established customs and traditions of the Bwari Chiefdom.

The statement also added that the nomination of Ijakoro was accordingly endorsed by the Bwari Kingmakers.

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