The remains of the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Shehu Mustapha Idrisa Timta, who was killed by Boko Haram gunmen on Friday, were committed to mother earth yesterday in his domain amidst eulogies and tears.
Though the first-class traditional ruler was killed in an ambush while on his way to attend the funeral of the Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Shehu Abubakar, none of his colleagues from the region and even from the state were able to attend his own burial as a result of the unpredictable security situation on the way to and around Gwoza town.
Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, who was accompanied by his deputy, Zanna Mustapha and Senator Muhammed Ali Ndume, who is from Gwoza, were the highest public officials at the burial of the slain Emir.
It was learnt that Gov. Shettima and his entourage departed the state capital, Maiduguri, amidst tight security circle, which included a combined force of about 150 soldiers of the 7 Division, Maiduguri, the police special squad and the Civilian JTF, who actually led the entourage through the 135km deserted Maiduguri-Bama road.
Aside the presence of local vigilante personnel, who were seen in couple of places manning the road, a Nigeria Air Force fighter jet was also deployed to provide aerial support for the governor’s motorcade until they finally got to Gwoza.
The Maiduguri-Bama road had been a no-go area for months now as Boko Haram gunmen turned the route into a slaughter slab where travelers were attacked, killed or robbed on a daily basis.
The governor’s convoy reportedly arrived Gwoza about 1pm after which he drove to the palace and immediately took part in the funeral rites of the monarch an hour later.
The Islamic funeral, which was witnessed by a mammoth crowd, was led by the chief imam of Gwoza, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmad Bamanga.
The atmosphere was emotionally charged as the monarch’s remains were being placed into the royal grave dug next to that of his late father, Alhaji Idrissa Timta, within the confines of the palace.
Bearing witness to the final departure of the monarch, who was severally described as a man of unquantifiable tolerance and peaceful disposition, to the great beyond, the skies opened up in a heavy downpour as his remains were being placed in his final resting place. The rains abruptly stopped shortly after his grave was covered.
Senator Muhammed Ali Ndume, an indigene of Gwoza, wept profusely when he addressed mourners shortly after the interment.
“Today is a sad day for us”, said Ndume.
“The only baobab tree that casts its royal shade upon all of us has fallen; but if we could all be patient and very patient in our plight, another branch will sprout from its deep roots and cast even a bigger shade upon us. We in Gwoza have lost a father, a leader and a man of peace. We shall miss His Royal Highness, but we pray God should give us yet another illustrious and kind king that will even promote the esteemed virtues for which we remember the late Emir. Gwoza has been distressed, our people have suffered serious attacks and displacements but our father remained with us and stood for us, until he eventually passed away. May he rest in peace”, the senator said.
Ndume also commended the Borno State governor for defying all odds on the road to Gwoza to attend the Emir’s burial.
Gov. Shettima, who also battled to control his emotions as he read a tribute to the deceased monarch and condolences, described the late Shehu Idrissa Timta as “a man who spent the better part of his reign preaching peace and tolerance”.
Shettima continued: “This is not a day for long speeches; it is a day of mourning of our late father and monarch. May Allah give us yet another monarch that will love his people in the manner the late Shehu Idrissa Timta did; in his lifetime, he was being eulogized as one king that can keep a venomous viper in his pocket, because of his superlative love for peace and tolerance; he was known as a monarch who never showed discrepancy whether of religion or tribe.
“The late Emir has lived an exemplary life; he was a paragon of everything that is good in a leader. Those that assassinated him may have done their worst, but they should know that, as they would continue to wallow in their tormented guilt, the Emir is being celebrated to have died on a Friday, which in accordance with the Islamic belief is a day of blessing for any one that dies naturally, talk more of one whose life was brutally taken by another person on that blessed day. We pray that, in the next seven days when the next Emir of Gwoza will emerge, we shall have yet another Emir that will even be celebrated more than the late Shehu Idrissa Timta”.
The governor noted that “We are in difficult times, we are challenged by insecurity, but what is very sure is that we will not remain in this condition for ever, because everything in life is a passing phase”.
The late Emir was survived by his centenarian mother, four wives, 28 children, 14 grandchildren and 14 siblings.