Abubakar Atiku, the deposed Emir of Zurmi in Zamfara State, has died in Egypt after battling an undisclosed illness.
A source at the Zurmi Emir’s palace, who asked not to be named, said the Emirate Council is fully involved in the arrangements for the corpse to be brought back to Nigeria for burial.
Mr Atiku, who is an uncle to the current Emir, died on Friday in an Egyptian hospital.
The source said: “He had been sick for some weeks before he was taken out to Egypt by his immediate family. We were immediately informed when he died.”
When asked why the corpse was yet to be brought back as of Monday night, the source said he didn’t know because it was “a family matter”.
Mr Atiku was deposed alongside his counterpart from Dansadau, Hussaini Umar, in April by the Zamfara State government after they were accused of frustrating efforts to arrest suspected bandits and aiding cattle rustlers.
The district head of Birnin Tsaba, Sulaiman Ibrahim, wás deposed for the same alleged offence.
They were first suspended in 2021. A committee inaugurated to investigate the allegations against them recommended that they be deposed as traditional rulers.
After the report was submitted to the state government, the deputy governor, Hassan Nasiha, announced the deposition of the three monarchs.
“Zamfara State Government has approved the immediate deposition of the Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Emir of Dansadau, Alhaji Hussaini Umar and also directed the immediate removal of the District Head of Birnin Tsaba, Alhaji Suleman Ibrahim Dan Yabin Birnin Tsaba,” he said.
Zamfara, like other areas in Nigeria’s North-west region, is convulsing under attacks by gunmen locally called bandits who attack mostly rural communities and travellers.
These bandits have been blamed for killing thousands of people. They have also abducted many persons in what is becoming the worst kidnap-for-ransom era in the country.
Zurmi and Dansadau are the epicentres of bandits’ activities in the state.
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