Idris Adanno, leader of the Shuwa Arabs in Edo, says the plan to crown him as the sultan of his people was misunderstood.
The announcement to install Adanno as Sultan of Shuwa Arabs in the state was received with public outcry and the group was accused of plans to turn the state into a sultanate.
Speaking on the development, the Edo government said the planned coronation, initially scheduled to hold on August 21, poses threat to peace and security in the state.
“Under the Edo State Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law, it is an offence for anyone to proclaim himself, or allow himself to be proclaimed as the holder of any traditional title not recognised under the said law and/or without the approval of the appropriate authorities,” Osarodion Ogie, secretary to the state government, said in a statement on Thursday.
“The state government hereby wishes to assure all concerned that firm and decisive action will be taken to prevent the actualisation of this illegal and sacrilegious act and that all persons found to have been involved in the conception and/or execution would face the full wrath of the law.”
Commenting on the issue on Friday, Adanno explained that the tribes from the north residing in Edo are all under the Sarkin Hausawa, “but we all now have our individual sarkin like those of Kanuri, Nupe, and others”.
He expressed his loyalty to the Oba of Benin and announced a cancellation of the coronation.
He further tendered an apology, adding that he and his people are law-abiding.
“The whole issue was misunderstood because of the language used. In our Shuwa language, sultan is our own sarkin and we only wanted to celebrate my appointment as the head of Shuwa Arab in Benin, because we are the second-largest local ethnic group from the north,” Adanno said
“We are all under Sarkin Hausawa of Benin who gave us an introductory letter which we submitted before the governor of the state, the Oba of Benin, and the secretary to state government.
“We are all 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 canceled all the activities we wanted to do as directed by the state government.”
The Shuwa Arabs hail from Borno state; Abba Kyari, late chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, and Maryam, wife of Sani Abacha, late military head of state, are also Shuwa Arabs.