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Nigeria: How Yorubas lost the Ilorin throne to the Fulanis

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The rivalry between the Fulani and Afonja descendants over the throne of Ilorin is rooted in history.
While the Fulani rest the case of their claim to the kingship of the ancient town on the fact that the monarch had from the time immemorial been produced by them, the Afonja descendants, who like majority of the people of the town are Yoruba, say since their ancestor founded Ilorin, their claim to the throne ought not to be disputed.
History appears in support of the former’s position although the progenitor of the Fulani indigenes of Ilorin, Alimi, was actually a tenant to Afonja.
The death of Afonja and Alimi, however, saw the eldest son of the latter emerging as the first monarch of what was then known as Ilorin.
Historical sources, tracing the story to the 19th Century, said Ilorin of today was founded by Afonja, the then Aare Ona Kakanfo (Generalisimo) to Alaafin of old Oyo (Oyo Ile), who used the town as his military outpost.  It was this outpost that he carried out his war expeditions for the Alaafin. In the usual nomadic wandering, Alimi arrived Ilorin and was hosted by Afonja. Soon after Alimi took Ilorin as his place of abode, a rift broke out between Alaafin and Afonja. When the disagreement reached the climax and the two had to take up arms, Afonja, out of regard for Alimi’s spiritual and military prowess, sought his support. Alimi helped in mobilising an army in support of Afonja leading to victory over Alaafin. The defeat led the then Alaafin migrating from old Oyo to the site now called Oyo.
After the war, Alimi became a teacher to Afonja’s children as the latter wanted his offsprings to learn the secret of power. When both died, Alimi’s son, Abdulsalami, inherited his father’s duty of teaching Afonja’s children.
When the idea of appointing somebody to head the village came, the eldest child of Afonja wanted to have the position but met opposition from Abdulsalami who had military support from his fellow Fulani kinsmen. Abdulsalami ultimately became the ruler of what is now called Ilorin around 1831.
The issue now is that Afonja’s descendants believe that their forefathers were cheated and want a redress. But the Alimi people are claiming that the Afonja people never ruled Ilorin and, as such, no precedent exists to back their position.
Penultimate week’s incident was not the first time the Afonja and the Yoruba would attempt to assert their right to Ilorin kingship.
Historical sources said in 1895, the Yoruba rose against the then emir, burnt his palace and killed him. But the revolt did not result in enthronement of a Yoruba king. In 1913, when Lord Lugard administered the northern and southern Nigeria, Yoruba were said to have spearheaded a riot over tax to bring the rulership of the then emir to ridicule. In 1936, the Yoruba, according to sources, also moved to oust Emir Abdulkadir who was banished to Kaduna but got reinstated by the colonial administration.
In 1978, the George Innih administration of Kwara State raised a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the Yoruba agitation.
The Yoruba people reportedly made a case for the merging of Kwara State with the Southwest before the commission while also laying claim to the Ilorin throne. It was said they even claimed antecedent to the throne as they allegedly said Yoruba had produced four obas in Ilorin before the advent of the Fulani. But the Alimi people, in a counter position, claimed there was no known Yoruba king in the town before their forefather mounted the throne.
The report of the panel never saw the light of day while there was also no white paper from government.
A twist to the tussle was the recent petition by three of the six Yoruba chiefs (mogajis) in Ilorin to the State House of Assembly complaining that they had been classified as ungraded by government allegedly at the behest of the emir. 
Their non-grading, according to the chiefs, suited the emir, so that there would be no rivalry of any sort from the Yoruba to his authority. Ilorin Descendants Progressive Union (IDPU), formed to protect the interest Ilorin indigenes who are of Fulani extraction, once in its opposition to the upgrading of the chiefs, said dong so would bring them at par with Gambari. But the Afonja Descendants Union (ADU) which came on stream in 1978 to advance the cause of the Yoruba in the town and with Kasumu as its leader would hear none of that. The group is allegedly pressuring the legislature to grade the chiefs.
Another angle to the agitation is the demand for Oya State that will comprise the Yoruba speaking areas of Kwara and Kogi States. The move, it was said, is to pull the rug from under the feet of the emir and end the Fulani rulership of Ilorin.
The Yoruba people of Ilorin are not alone in the struggle. The pan-Yoruba meeting which took place in Ibadan last year demanded restructuring of Kwara State such that Ilorin would be grouped with the Southwest. Analysts interpreted this to mean that the parley did not believe that any emir had any business on Ilorin throne.  

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UN offers to help catch Mali jihadists behind amputations

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UN peacekeepers in Mali on Thursday offered to help bring to justice jihadists behind the amputation of suspected thieves’ hands and feet, an apparent revival of a practice that had all but vanished.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, local sources in Tin-Hama in eastern Mali said armed men drummed up a crowd on May 2, a market day, and cut the right hands and left feet off three men they paraded as thieves.

The gunmen are believed to have belonged to Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), one of the main jihadist groups active in the Sahel region, the UN’s Minusma force said in a statement.

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“This kind of corporal punishment carried out by armed groups outside of any legal order is a serious infringement of human rights,” Minusma chief El-Ghassim Wade said.

UN forces stand ready to “support continuing enquiries by Malian authorities to fight impunity and ensure that the perpetrators of these acts are brought to justice,” he added.

Minusma also said it was deploying “significant security resources in the affected areas to step up protection of populations”.

The amputations “recall the horrors of the 2012 crisis” when jihadists and Touareg rebels took control of much of Mali’s north, the UN statement added.

At the time, various jihadist groups conducted public amputations, stonings, floggings and executions in major northern cities under their hardline interpretation of Islamic law.

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Since 2012, jihadist insurgents have spread across Mali’s centre and into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, with thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in the violence.

UN, African and French forces have failed to put an end to the insurgency.

Unidentified men killed one soldier when they attacked a Malian anti-terrorist unit near Tominian in the country’s centre late Wednesday, while the troops killed three of the assailants, a security official said on condition of anonymity.

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IPOB backs new directive by Cameroon’s Anglophone separatist leader

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PHOTO: Protesters with the flag of "Ambazonia"

Nigerian Biafra separatist group— Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has backed the May 20 directive to “stay at home” from Cameroon’s Anglophone separatist leader, Dr Cho Ayaba.

Ayaba, the leader of Ambazonia, ordered a lockdown on May 20, 2021 in the English-speaking region of Cameroon, saying it was to mark the day that Cameroonian government forces began killing civilians in the region.

“The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, under the global command of our Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, hereby, directs all Biafrans living in Ambazobia to fully comply with the directive. Biafra and Ambazobia share a lot in common, and we are prepared to give them all the necessary support and solidarity in their struggle for independence,” said IPOB in a statement issued on Monday.

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The Biafra group, in the statement signed by its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, further said, it “urge all Biafrans living in Ambazobia to close shop on May 20, and remain indoors in full compliance with the sit-at-home order by the leader of our sister country. We equally advise all Biafrans intending to travel to Ambazonia on that day to shelve the trip until after the exercise. Biafra and Ambazobia have enjoyed a robust relationship in our struggle for self determination.

“Ambazobia has adopted 20th of May every year in honour of the victims of the genocidal killings in Ambazonia by the terrorist Republic of Cameroun. This was the day the Paul Biya-led murderous regime in Camaroun launched military onslaught and occupation of Ambazonia.

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“The genocidal killing was however, challenged four years ago through stiff resistance and great sacrifices by patriotic Ambazonians. Consequently, the people of Ambazonia have decided to henceforth, observe 20th of May as a day to commemorate the Resistance and defeat of their enemy, the Cameroonian forces.

“We equally note with delight, the directive by the leadership of the Ambazonian liberation movement to all Ambazonians, to observe May 31 Biafra Remembrance Day sit-at-home order in honour of our fallen heroes. This show of solidarity between both countries is amazing, and will be sustained until and even after our independence is realised. Both countries shall continue to explore other opportunities to promote peaceful cooperation and regional security and economic advancement.”

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Eid: Buhari asks Nigerians to pray against insecurity

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Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday called on citizens to unite and pray against the insecurity ravaging the country.

The president made the appeal in a message to Muslims around the world as they marked Eid Al Fitr after the completion of a month of fasting.

According to Garba Shehu, the president’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, he said;“Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.

“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.

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“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.

“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”

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