A banditry kingpin known as Ado Aleiro was on Saturday turbaned as Sarkin Fulanin Yandoto by the Yandoton Daji Emirate in Zamfara State, Daily Trust reports.
The turbaning ceremony was held hours after the emirate announced the suspension of the process.
In May, the Zamfara State House of Assembly amended the Zamfara State Emirate Council Establishment Law No. 15 of 2000 to allow for the creation of two additional emirate councils.
The two emirate councils under the law are ‘Yandoton Daji Emirate with second class emir comprising ‘Yandoton Daji, Keta, Kizara, Bawa-Ganga, Kwaren-Ganuwa, Danjibga and Kunchin-Kalgo districts with its headquarters at Birnin ‘Yandoto.
Aleiro was billed for the turbaning by the Emir of Yandoto Alhaji Aliyu Marafa on Saturday. However, few hours to the ceremony, the process was halted on the orders of the state government.
The decision to confer the title on the banditry kingpin was premised on the pivotal role he played during a recent peace process locally arranged between the emirate and the bandits terrorizing Tsafe Local Government Area.
Sources at the emirate discussed that the state government had ordered the halting of the conferment of chieftaincy title on the bandits’ leader for fear of backlash from the public after the process was leaked to the media.
“The Secretary of the Emirate told me this morning that the process has been suspended till further notice. It was not in the interest of the emirate council but that of a politician in the area,” the source said.
The turbaning ceremony held at the palace of the Emir of Yandoton Daji and was attended by the council chairman of Tsafe Local Government and the state Commissioner of Security and Home Affairs, DIG Ibrahim Mamman Tsafe (rtd).
“The bandits leader’s lieutenants on dozens of motorbikes also graced the occasion. They rode along Gusau-Funtua highway and had a stop over at Gidan Dawa community where residents donated cartons of soft drinks to them,” said a source from the town who did not want to be named.
“It was not clear whether Aleiro spoke at the turbaning ceremony or not but one of frontline lieutenants who spoke at the ceremony lamented how people are calling them armed criminals,” a resident identified as Sufyan told our correspondent.
“We are not armed robbers neither are we terrorists. But for the peace process to be sustained, government at the federal and state levels must do the needful by providing grazing lands, schools and hospitals for herdsmen,” he was quoted as saying.
During the botched 2019 peace deal between the state government and the armed men, a government delegation had met with Aleiro at Munhaye, a community located 15km west of Gusau-Funtua highway.
The terror kingpin had promised to lay down arms and give peace a chance but later reneged on his promise and renewed his deadly attacks on communities in Tsafe Local Government Area of the state as well as Faskari and Kankara local government areas in neighbouring Katsina State.
The bandits’ leader was the arrowhead of a deadly raid on Kadisau, a community in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State, where about 52 people were killed.
Shortly afterwards, the Katsina State Police Command placed a N5 million bounty on his head. Since then, he has masterminded several assaults on communities in Tsafe and Faskari local government areas of Zamfara and Katsina states.