Yaa Naa Andani’s funeral resumes

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The funeral of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II resumed on Sunday with the performance of various traditional and customary rites.

That was after calm had returned to the Yendi municipality following a violent clash between some Andanis and Abudus last Friday, leading to the injury of 17 mourners and the arrest of seven suspects.

Yesterday, there was the shaving (Kubihi Pinbu) of all sons and daughters, including other family members, of the late Yaa Naa Andani to distinguish them as royals during the funeral.

There was also the slaughtering of animals to pacify the gods for a peaceful ceremony.

The funeral will be climaxed on Friday when key rites, including ‘Buni Wuhibu’ which literally means display of wealth and the circumambulation (the act of moving around a sacred object or idol) of the Gbewaa Palace three times by the Kampakuya Naa to demonstrate his legitimacy as a true son of the late Yaa Naa Andani.

There will also be the offering of alms (Sarah Taribu) on Friday.

More chiefs arrived in Yendi yesterday with their respective retinues for the rites in the town, which is the traditional seat of Dagbon.

The Kumbung-Naa, who is the chief warrior of Dagbon, will be the last to arrive in Yendi on Thursday.

The funeral processes which began last Friday about 4.45 a.m. witnessed the drumming and singing of dirges at the temporary Gbewaa Palace under the supervision of the royal chief drummer, N-yah Namogu.

That was followed by three rounds of musketry displayed by the royal warriors, led by their leader, Yani Achiirikpema, to traditionally announce the commencement of the funeral.

Eminent chiefs

Meanwhile, the Committee of Eminent Chiefs mandated to ensure a peaceful resolution of the Dagbon chieftaincy crisis has given its backing for the continuation of the final funeral rites of Yaa Naa Andani in Yendi, in spite of skirmishes that nearly marred the process last week.

The committee has also urged the Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to provide adequate security in the area to ensure the smooth performance of the funeral by the Andani Royal Family.

The Asantehene-led committee further entreated the media and the public to be cautious in their reportage of and commentary on the issue by seeking clarifications on matters concerning the Dagbon peace-building processes from the committee through the Northern Regional Security Council.

This was contained in a statement the committee issued last Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Head of the Andani Family, Yoo Naa Abubakari VII, has accepted the position of the committee and affirmed that the funeral rites for Yaa Naa Andani would continue yesterday.

The family gave its support in a statement issued in Tamale on Sunday.

Programme

According to the statement, from yesterday, all customary processes that began last Friday would continue to pave the way for the performance of the funeral by the elders of the Andani Royal Family.

It said on Thursday, January 17, 2019, the Kampakuya-Naa, Andani Yakubu Abdulai, would perform the circumambulation, the act of moving around a sacred object or idol, of the Gbewaa Palace.

The funeral process will then be completed on Friday, January 18, 2019.

On Friday evening, accredited elders of Dagbon would enter the sacred seclusion room to consult the traditional oracles for the selection of a new Yaa Naa.

Security

Meanwhile, the police have expressed their preparedness to provide adequate security for the entire period of the funeral and the subsequent selection of a substantive Yaa Naa by mapping out new measures.

The decision was reached after security chiefs, including the leadership of the military and the police, had held a meeting behind closed doors in Yendi last Saturday to discuss the prevailing security situation in the municipality.

The meeting was attended by the Inspector General of Police, Mr David Asante Appeatu; the Chief of the Defence Staff, Lt Col Obed Akwa; the Chief of Army Staff, Major General William Ayamdoh, and the Deputy Director-General, Joint Operations, General Headquarters of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col Michael Amoah-Ayisi.

The rest were Col Isaac Amponsah of the GAF; Lt Col Ansah Akofi of the Army Headquarters and the Forces Sergeant Major, CWO Barker Ramus.

The Northern Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mr Mohammed Yussif Tanko, who later briefed the media, said the new measures would include searching all vehicles entering Yendi to ensure that weapons were not smuggled into the town.

He said the police would, during the funeral process, also subject strange and suspicious persons to thorough security searches.

“We are going to increase our numbers at the barriers and we are going to search vehicles as they come in and go out. The police are also going to search suspicious persons to make sure they do not come into the town with ammunition.

“We want to assure elders of the Andani Royal Family that we will assist them to perform this funeral in an atmosphere of security,” Mr Tanko said.

Infractions

Clashes that erupted last Thursday stalled the performance of the funeral rites of Yaa Naa YakubuAndani II.

The Thursday evening incident led to the death of one person, with three others sustaining injuries, while a shed and some rooms were burnt.

Even though the security managed to control the situation, the conflict degenerated at midday last Friday, leaving 17 people with varying degrees of injury. A number of houses were also torched in the upheaval.

According to the Yendi Divisional Police Crime Officer, Mr Michael Happy Addae, no death was recorded in the latest incident and that seven people were arrested for their alleged involvement in the disturbances.

Background

The Andani Royal Family deferred the final funeral rites of Yaa Naa Andani following claims that the Bolin Lana, Mahamadu Abdulai of the Abudu Royal Family, was occupying a part of the temporary Gbewaa Palace.

According to the Andanis, that section of the palace was significant to the performance of the funeral because it was usually occupied by some chiefs who played significant roles in the performance of a Yaa Naa’s funeral rites.

Responding to the concerns raised by the Andanis, the Abudus said: “We wish to state without any equivocation that Bolin Lana Mahamadu Abdulai is not moving an inch from where he is temporarily residing. This demand is mischievous, preposterous and unachievable.”

They claimed that the MbaDugu’s residence “plays absolutely no role in the performance of the funeral of a Yaa Naa”.

Road map

The performance of the final funeral rites of the two Yaa Naas was part of the recommendations the Committee of EminentChiefs submitted to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on November 21, 2018 as part of the road map to peace in Dagbon.

The Committee of Eminent Chiefs was set up by former President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2002 to find a lasting solution to the Dagbon chieftaincy dispute after the murder of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II in Yendi.

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