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Kwali: A Community And Its Unending Chieftaincy Tussle



In this report, CECILIA OGEZI interrogates the lingering chieftaincy tussle  in Kwali community of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Kwali area council was said to have been founded by a Kanuri man named, Ali, who is believed to have formed the name Kwali. Located on a land area of about 1,206km2, and boosts a population of about 85,837, based on the 2006 census, the area council was created on October 1, 1996 by the military administration of late General Sani Abacha.

Kwali is also famous for pottery and the legendary woman potter, Dr. Ladi Kwali, whose image adorns the 20 naira note, hails from Kwali. The inhabitants are also into cloth-making, hunting and trading.

As it is the tradition of people around the country, an illustrious son of the land is chosen to uphold the customs and tradition of the people. From time memorial, Kwali community is peace-loving, accommodative and progressive. However, the community was engulfed by chieftaincy title. LEADERSHIP gathered that in 2013 after the death of the former emir, a committee was set up to look into the chieftaincy matter of Kwali, which had been in court for 17 years.

Our reporter gathered that the committee received a memorandum and paper presentation from all tribes, living in Kwali and it was resolved that late Adamu Katsina was erroneously made second class chief and as such the Gwari people, who are the owners of the traditions and customs of Kwali should be installed.

It was on this basis that the crisis was resolved and Etsu Shaban Audu Nizozo (III) was upgraded to a second class chief, while the Hausa-Fulani of Pai, Gumani and Ashara were all given third class stools.

But recently, there was a publication in a daily newspaper by one Abubakar Ladan who claimed to be spokes person of the late Adamu family, calling on government to appoint Sarkin Kwali.  Responding to the publication, the spokes person of the Estu palace, Akoshi Shazin explained that there was no Kaura of Kwali as HRH Etsu Shaban, had not made any such appointment. He further explained that late Adamu Katsina was a settler in Kwali, who was erroneously upgraded instead of the indigenous chief.

Our reporter also gathered that upon the appointment of His Royal Highness Nizozo (III), on the 16th of March 2015, as substantive chief of Kwali, family of late Chief Adamu dragged the FCT Minister to court. In 2016, they filed a suit in the customary court of appeal, seeking an order to compel the FCT Minister to appoint Abubakar Adamu Katsina, son of late Chief Adamu Katsina as Chief of Kwali.

Although the royal father was not joined as a defendant in the  matter, knowing the outcome of the decision of the court will affect  him as the one occupying the second class stool of Kwali, he sought  leave of court to be joined as a defendant.

However the family of late Adamu withdrew the case before it went for hearing and was struck out on 27th of October 2017.

The spokesperson, referring to decree of 1997 of Appointment and Deposition of chiefs in FCT, also noted that in all the 5 stools provided, the late Adamu Katsina occupied the stool of 2nd class chief, which was reversed and given to the original chief in Kwali and as such there is no vacancy of 2nd class chief in Kwali as it stands now. It also automatically means that since there is a change over, the palace should be vacated for the present chief.

He stressed that the sons of the late emir are still occupying the palace, doing so with help of security operatives, guarding the palace, adding that they are using the palace as a major ground to cause unrest within Kwali.

In an interview with LEADERSHIP, Abubakar Sadiq Adamu, son of late Adamu Katsina, revealed that the Kaura of Kwali, who speaks for the palace, is one of their king makers. He added that his call for the appointment of a member of the family as chief of Kwali remains the stand of the family.

According to him, his grandfather, Suleiman Barau, who was the Emir of Suleja came to Kwali in 1907. He further explained that Izom and Awawa were under their control before the creation of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Adding that the second class stool matter is being politicized because the Gwari population is more than their population in Kwali, stressing that the palace was built by his grandfather, as one among the early settlers in Kwali.

In an interview recently, the paramount ruler of Kwali, Estu Kwali, HRH Shaban Audu Nizozo( III) called on the government to employ the use of dialogue to resolve the rising trend of ethnic and social clashes in communities across the country. The Estu, explained that he had reason to believe that the remote causes of recent attacks on him is the chieftaincy issues, which started since he was turbaned on the 8th of September 1997, as a village head, but became intense in the past few months.

He advised that government should not allow crisis gloom and grow to the point when it can’t be controlled, adding that after the late Emir’s sons sought legal cushioning, which the court threw out, matters have only been worse than before. He however urged government to ensure that citizens abide by the law in order not to allow any one make a mess of the nation’s democracy.

Shazin also stressed that the palace was built by the Gwari people and handed to government, adding that the claim that Gwari person never occupied the palace is not relevant.”

“The appointment of all chiefs in FCT is statutory. The Act provides that the Onah of Abaji, who is the first class chief, is the chairman of all the chiefs in the 2nd to the 5th classes. The late Adamu Katsina, who is from Suleja, was erroneously made the second class chief and it has been  reversed and an indigene of Kwali, in the person of Shaban Nizozo III  is now the holder of the second class stool. If they seek to be Sarki,  I will suggest they go to Suleja.” he said.