The emirates of Katsina and Daura, both in Katsina state, have cancelled public eid-el-fitr celebrations, popularly known as Sallah Durbar, citing security concerns.
They are the two latest locations to cancel the popular horse-riding carnival in the north of the country over insecurity.
The Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Kabir issued a statement saying, “In view of kidnappings and banditry taking place around the emirate, and based on advises received from the state government, security agents and health personnel, the emirate will not conduct ‘Hawan-Sallah’ and other festivities during the Eid-el-Fitr celebration,”
Eid prayers—the gathering of multitudes of faithful on eid morning—would be conducted.
A special prayer for “peaceful coexistence” in the state and would also be offered, he said.
The same requests have been made in Daura emirate.
What is the durbar?
The Durbar festival is an annual horseriding celebration in celebration in several cities of Nigeria including Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zazzau, Bauchi and Bida.
The festival marks the end of Ramadan and also coincides with the Muslim festivities of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitri.
It typically gathers thousands of people, hence the concern of state governments about public health safety.
It begins with prayers, followed by a colourful parade of the Emir and his entourage on horses, accompanied by musicians, and ending at the Emir’s palace.
Durbar festivals are organised in almost all cities of northern Nigeria and has become a major tourist attraction.
In Northern Nigeria, the practices dates back over 200 years.
Concerns of the emirates
Areas covered by both emirates have been hit in the spate of insecurity that’s beset the state and other parts of the country.
In July 2019, an in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari and a traditional ruler in Daura, Musa Umar, was freed from captivity after being held for two months.
Mr Daura was kidnapped on May 2, 2019, at his home in Buhari’s hometown of Daura, Katsina State.
In December, armed men breached Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, hours after the president began a visit to his Daura home town, and at least 300 schoolboys hostage.
Katsina has also been beset by a spate of bandit attacks.