Leader of Shuwa Arabs in Edo State, Alhaji Idris Adanno, has cleared the air on the controversy over the purported plan to coronate a sultan of Shuwa Arabs in Benin City, which has elicited reactions from the public and state government.
Speaking to journalists in Benin City yesterday, Adanno declared absolute loyalty to the state government and the Oba of Benin whom he said is their “father”.
“The whole issue was misunderstood because of the language used. All the tribes from the North who are resident in Edo State are all under the Sarkin Hausawa but we all now have our individual sarkins like those of Kanuri, Nupe and others. In Shuwa language, the sultan is our own sarkin and we only wanted to celebrate my appointment as the head of Shuwa Arabs in Benin because we are the second largest ethnic group from the North.
“We are all under the Sarkin Hausawa of Benin who gave us an introductory letter which we submitted to the governor of the state, the Oba of Benin and the Secretary to State Government.
“We are law abiding citizens and under the laws of the state. We are also loyal to our royal father, the Oba of Benin who is father to all of us. We apologise to the state government for the mix-up and as law abiding citizens, we have also cancelled all the activities we wanted to do as directed by the state government,” he said.
The Sarkin Hausawa of Benin, Alhaji Adamu Isa, said the whole incident was because of the choice of language.
He said: “They are a community resident in Edo and they have a large percentage of their people here too, they are into cattle breeding and other businesses. The thing is misuse of language from them. About five months ago, they came to me saying since they are large, they wanted to have a traditional head so I told them to go and look for someone among them who is going to be their leader and so they came with one Idris and then some issues came up. Then I asked them to go and resolve it and I gave them a date to come back. And then we did the turbaning of their leader so that in case we have issues concerning them, we know who to hold responsible.
“You know our culture up North, it is easier for you to regulate the activities of people using the traditional heads, that is why anytime we have a large number of people from the same place, we look for a traditional head.
“The whole issue was misunderstood. I was born and bred here in Benin, my father was born and bred here in Benin so I understand the tradition and customs of the land and the laws of the state. It was just a misuse of language. Sultan in their own language means sarkin.”