By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
Worried by the way and manner their traditional ruler was deposed by the state government, residents of Arak Chiefdom in Sanga Local Governemnt Area of Kaduna state, have called for the reinstatement of the their royal father.
They described the removal by the Malam Nasir el-Rufai-led government as “not fair, in bad faith and a witch-hunt clad with false allegations.”
A statement by the Acting President of Numana Community Development Association (NCDO), Comrade Ahmed Manzo, appealed to Governor Uba Sani to, as a matter of urgency, look into the matter, reinstate the royal father and approved the payment of his salaries and the palace staff which were withheld since early 2022 by the Nasir el-Rufai-led government without any explanation.
The statement recalled that recently, the Kaduna State Government through the Commissioner for Local Government, Umma Ahmad, announced the deposition of our paramount ruler.
The Arak residents, however, said that the reasons advanced for the removal of the royal father “are not good enough as the allegations were not properly investigated by the state government before arriving at such a harsh conclusion.
“We, therefore, appeal to the Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Uba Sani, whom we know over time, to be fair-minded, to revisit the issue in an effort to unravel the truth in order to reinstate our Royal Father.
“While congratulating Dr. Uba Sani for his victory at the polls and the successful swearing-in as the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, we, therefore, called on him to take a look at the issue and reinstate the deposed traditional ruler of Arak chiefdom, His Highness Brig. General Iliya Aliyu Yammah (Rtd).”
Explaining further, the Arak residents said that: “To put the record straight, His Highness Brig. General Iliya Aliyu Yammah (Rtd), did not, at any time appoint four district heads in Arak Chiefdom.
“What happened was that, when Arak Chiefdom was created from Gwantu Chiefdom, only one district was left for the new chiefdom and without a district head.
“His Highness, in his wisdom, after series of meetings with all the Ruling Houses (comprising ARAK, EGAR, JANDA, and MADA) and other critical stakeholders, verbally assigned a senior village head in each of the clan to oversee their respective areas and report to him. There was no benefits attached.
“This was done for ease of administration of the Chiefdom pending the appointment of substantive district heads by the state government.
“The then State Government under Malam Nasir el-Rufai, without proper investigation, misunderstood the action as a creation of new Districts and appointment of District heads by the Royal Father”.
On the allegation that the royal father does not stay in the Chiefdom, the group explain that: “Prior to his installations on August 25, 2018, His Highness had a medical procedure in the USA in June 2018. After his discharge, he was referred to a hospital in Abuja for rehabilitation and post surgery management which was for 3 times a week.
“During his installations and presentation of staff of office, the royal father made it known to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, that he cannot afford the bill of going to Abuja 3 times in a week and requested for a flexible working arrangement which the Governor graciously approved.
“Therefore, for the state government to turn and accuse the royal father of operating from Abuja outside the chiefdom is strange.”
While insisting that the Royal Father was a victim of Nasir el-Rufai victimization, the statement said: “Since his appointment as the Etum Numana, changed to Etum Gwantu and later to Etum Arak, His Highness has always been on top of all issues in the Chiefdom. No issue has ever escalated because of lack of attention by the Royal Father.
“Therefore, following the chain of events that happened during and after the installations of the Royal father in 2018, we are forced to conclude that the former governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai never had good intention for our royal father.
“It would be recalled that in 2018, Governor Nasir el-Rufai orally pronounced the status of His Highness as ETUM GWANTU instead of ETUM NUMANA as contained in his letter of appointment.
“Since after the oral change of the name of the Chiefdom from NUMANA to GWANTU CHIEFDOM no subsequent appointment letter was issued to the Royal Father as ETUM GWANTU.
“In 2021, however, the Gwantu Chiefdom was split by the State Government and ARAK CHIEFDOM was created out of GWANTU CHIEFDOM with a 3rd Class status.
“Surprisingly, His Highness who is a 2nd class Chief was TRANSFERRED and relocated to a 3rd class newly created ARAK Chiefdom. This is a clear violation of the extant laws.
“However, the Royal Father did not protest the unusual transfer. He immediately assumed duty in the new Arak Chiefdom as directed.”