Andani family denounces plans for funeral rites of late Dagbon kings

The Andani family has declined to participate in a government announced final funeral rites for the late Dagbon kings – Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II and Yaa-Naa Mahamadu Abdulai – in November.

The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna at this year’s Eid-Ul-Fitr prayers at the Tamale Jubilee Park to mark end of the month-long Ramadan fasting, disclosed that there are plans by government to perform the final funeral rites of the two.

But the family of the late Ya-Naa Yakubu Andani, in a statement, maintained: “For the avoidance of doubt we wish to state emphatically that the family is not party to the programme of the funeral rites as spelt out by the Hon. Regional Minister. “

The family explained: “To allow this to happen is to desecrate the memory of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II and all those who were murdered along with him. It will also signal that we the family are accomplices in rewarding crime because this was exactly what those who attacked the Gbewaa Palace and committed those murders wanted.”

The statement stressed, “…under no circumstance will we agree for the funeral rites of Mahamadu Abdulai to be performed at the old Gbewaa Palace. This position is not negotiable.”

The family of the late Dagbon King, Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani is accusing the Northern Regional Minister of usurping the powers of the Kuga Naa, the most senior member of the elders of Dagbon and Head of the Judicial Council of Dagbon for going public with the announcement.

According to the family, the Kuga Naa is the only person who, customarily, has the responsibility of making public announcements of the death or funeral arrangements of any Dagbon overlord.

Below is the family’s statement.
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE FAMILY OF THE LATE YAA-NAA YAKUBU ANDANI II ON THE PURPORTED FUNERAL RITES OF LATE YAA-NAAS AS ANNOUNCED BY THE HON. NORTHERN REGIONAL MINISTER, ALHAJI MOHAMMED MUNIRU LIMUNA: MONDAY 27 JULY 2015.

The attention of the family of the late Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II has been drawn to statements published on Ghanaweb General News of Monday, 20 July 2015 and attributed to the Hon. Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna on the purported funeral rites of late Yaa-Naas supposedly set for November.

First of all we would like to express outrage at the blatant disregard for Dagbon tradition and customs by the Hon. Regional Minister who in making these statements has blatantly usurped the role of the Kuga Naa, the most senior member of the elders of Dagbon and Head of the Judicial Council of Dagbon, who is the only person who has the traditional authority and customary responsibility of making such announcements.

The Hon. Minister’s comments bring back a very painful reminder of a similar contemptuous announcement once made by Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, then Minister of Information and Presidential Affairs in the Kufuor regime who, on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 in flagrant violation of the custom and tradition of Dagbon and the sensibilities of the Andani royal family and the people of Dagbon, announced, almost happily, and in a very reckless manner, that Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II had been killed, and that he had been beheaded.

We wish to remind the Hon. Minister of the electoral promise the Party he represents, the NDC, made to the people of Dagbon and to the Ghanaian people in general, to ensure that those who murdered the Yaa-Naa and the dozens of others in his royal retinue would be apprehended and made to face the full rigours of the law. The NDC has been in power since January 2009, and the Andani family and the people of Dagbon in general are yet to see justice.

The NPP’s Wuaku Commission was a complete farce and its final report a laughable whitewash because it preferred charges that do not exist in Ghana’s statute books on two individuals making it easy for the court to throw the case out. Upon pressure to fulfil its electoral promise after coming to power in 2009, the NDC attempted to placate the Andani family by hurriedly arresting some suspects, and without diligent investigations arraigned them before court deliberately bungling the prosecution just to ensure that the case would be thrown out of court. This was exactly what happened despite the fact that the Andani family had prompted the NDC government about the deliberate clumsiness of the work of the prosecution. By his recent statements, the Hon. Regional Minister seems to have finally pulled off the mask from the face of the NDC revealing it as a dishonest broker in the Dagbon crisis.

For the avoidance of doubt we wish to state emphatically that the family is not party to the programme of the funeral rites as spelt out by the Hon. Regional Minister. And under no circumstance will we agree for the funeral rites of Mahamadu Abdulai to be performed at the old Gbewaa Palace. This position is not negotiable. To allow this to happen is to desecrate the memory of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II and all those who were murdered along with him. It will also signal that we the family are accomplices in rewarding crime because this was exactly what those who attacked the Gbewaa Palace and committed those murders wanted.

To refresh the memory of the Hon. Regional Minister and the government he represents, we would like to state that Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II did not die a natural death. He was murdered, and the murder was the climax of a three-day armed assault on the Gbewaa Palace – the official residence of the Yaa-Naa and focal point of over six hundred years of Dagbon history, tradition and culture. Not satisfied that they had killed him, the assailants dragged his body to the palace square, chopped off his right arm, decapitated him and set fire to what was left of the body. His body parts were then paraded through the streets of Yendi by the assailants amidst drumming and dancing. The murderers also mounted the severed head of the Yaa-Naa on a spear, and took it to the house of the son of Mahamadu Abdulai – Abdulai Mahamadu, where he sat in state and received it.

It is this Abdulai Mahamadu that the Hon. Regional Minister is insinuating would be elevated in status after the performance of the funeral of his father Mahamadu Abdulai. The underlying message in this arrangement is that crime has its rewards and has no penalties. And we hope the Hon. Minister understands the implications of this, and he would be held responsible for any subsequent consequences. This is because there is a limit to the pain and humiliation that the family can endure.

The enthusiasm the Hon. Minister displayed in announcing the programme for the purported funeral rites is completely misplaced. He should rather direct it at the NDC in order to ensure that the Party fulfils the electoral promise it made to deliver justice to the People of Dagbon and the Andani family in the murder of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II and the dozens of members of his royal retinue. This is what the Hon. Regional Minister should rather be concerned with, and not recklessly meddling in matters that are totally within the domain of Dagbon traditional authority.

Finally, we call on the Hon. Regional Minister to apologise to Yog’ Kpamba , for exhibiting such reckless disregard for Dagbon tradition and custom. We also advise him to desist henceforth from making such ill-advised statements because the consequences of what he is contemplating by those statements are too grave to fathom.

ABDULAI YAKUBU ANDANI
(Representative of the children of the late Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II)


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