The Baggara or Chadian Arabs resident in Edo State have continued to receive negative publicity both from the public and from the State Government over their plan to turban a Sultan for their tribe in the South South State.
The Governor of the State, Godwin Obaseki had banned the coronation, with claims in some quarters that the intention of the tribe is to subvert the rule of the paramount ruler of Benin Kingdom.
To clarify issues, however, the head of the Shuwa Arabs, as they are also called, Alhaji Idris Adanno said on Friday that the matter is a misunderstanding, noting that his loyalty will always be to the Oba of Benin.
He said, “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 sarkin like those of Kanuri, Nupe, and others.“I gave them a date to come back. And then we did the turban of their leader so that in case we have issues concerning them, we know who to hold responsible.
“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 custom of the land and the laws of the state. It was just a misuse of language. Sultan in their own language means sarkin.”
“In our Shua language, Sultan is our own sarkin and we only wanted to celebrate my appointment as the head of Shua Arab in Benin because we are the second-largest local ethnic group from the North. 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 cancelled all the activities we wanted to do as directed by the state government.”
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 a misuse of language from them. About five months ago, they came to me that since they are large, they want 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.”
WHO ARE THE SHUA ARABS?
The Baggāra (Arabic for “cattle herder”) or Chadian Arabs are a grouping of Arab ethnic groups inhabiting the portion of Africa’s Sahel mainly between Lake Chad and southern Kordofan, numbering over six million. They are known as Baggara in Sudan, and as Shuwa Arabs in Cameroon, Nigeria and Western Chad. The term Shuwa is said to be of Kanuri origin.
There are over 300, 000 of them in Nigeria.