How Plateau leaders averted crisis over controversial turbaning ceremony

An invitation which circulated on the social media for the installation ceremony of one Alhaji Samaila Abdullahi as the Sarkin Kerana 4 in Bukuru few days ago generated tension in Bukuru, Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Many locals misunderstood the invitation and some youth started attacking each other.

The invitation read: “Bukuru Emirate Council invites you to the turbaning ceremony of Alhaji Samaila Abdullahi as the Sarkin Kerana 4 in Bukuru. Date -1 August 2020. Time – 11am. Venue – Emirs Palace Bukuru.”

As soon as the invitation was circulated in the social media, tension began to brew in the area as some persons were not comfortable with the message.

While some said there was no emirate council in Bukuru, others said that particular position had already been filled by someone appointed by the district head.

The tension generated in the community forced the state government to issue a statement a night before the said event was supposed to hold, with a stern warning that the said turbaning ceremony originated from a non-existent Bukuru emirate council.

The statement by the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dan Manjang, said the invitation was clearly the handiwork of mischief-makers.

According to the statement, the mischief-makers were crisis merchants determined to instigate trouble and generate breach of the peace already being enjoyed in the state.

“Security agencies are currently tracking those behind this mischief and they will bring them to book immediately they are apprehended. Once more, the governor of Plateau State urges its citizens to celebrate the Sallah holiday in a peaceful manner and observe all COVID-19 guidelines,” the statement partly read.

Meanwhile, our correspondent, who visited the community the following day, observed that people were already going about their normal businesses.

It was gathered that the community leaders and the kingmakers had already waded in to ease the tension, even as it was also learnt that they were not aware of any such turbaning ceremony.

Our correspondent gathered that the said Alhaji Samaila Abdullahi whose turbaning ceremony’s invitation caused the stir was the son of the former Sarkin Kerana 4, who died in 1998. Since then, the seat has been vacant until recently when someone was appointed by the district head.

It was learnt that the situation would have triggered a communal crisis, especially between the Berom and the Hausa communities.

To avert any crisis due to the announcement, the community leaders in Bukuru called on the locals to maintain the peace.

Those who moved swiftly to save the situation included the Sarkin Bukuru, Alhaji Nasiru; Sarkin Samari, Retired Major Danladi Garba and a community mobiliser/philanthropist, Dr Saleh Abdullahi of Zazzaga Foundation.

Speaking with our correspondent, Sarkin Bukuru Alhaji Nasiru, said they were not aware of any turbaning ceremony in the community.

According to him, there must be due process in everything, adding that no one wrote or approached them in any way about a turbaning which must surely pass through them to take place.

He called for calm, saying that he had already briefed security operatives and that they were on the matter.

Dr Abdullahi of Zazzaga Foundation on his part said he had to reach out to the different communities in the heat of the situation, and through different communication/information channels to ensure that peace reigned.

He urged the government to create development areas with each having their leader/head and well recognised, adding that the sensitive nature of Bukuru requires strong government attention and a mediation team that would mediate between the government and the people and report same back to the government.