Hajia Hauwa Momoh, one of the widows of late Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, and her daughter, Zainab Ado Bayero have cried out that they have become destitutes and abandoned by the family of the prominent traditional ruler. Hauwa, daughter of the late Otaru of Auchi in Edo state, Ahmed Momoh claims in this interview that she has two kids; Zainab and Ahmed Tijani for Ado Bayero who were well catered for by the monarch and his older children until he passed on in 2014, after which they were ejected from one of the monarch’s homes in Kano and today, they have been rendered homeless with no benefit from the late Emir’s estate.
Zainab and her mother, Hauwa told Saturday Sun that they are currently homeless and have been wandering about looking for help across the country.
Zainab said on several occasions, her father’s eldest sons promised to help but they have refused to fulfill their promises. She said they are being treated with disdain because her mother is not a northerner.
Hauwa also explained why they are going through their current ordeal. In her words, “You know in Kano, when you are not from there, that is what they do. When Bayero died they promised to do things for us and help but every year, I have been begging for help. They keep on telling us they will help. That is what they did for six years. For the past six years since he died, nobody is doing anything and nobody is looking for us. My daughter wants to talk because when I spoke, they didn’t answer me.”
Zainab breaks it down further, “Nasiru Ado Bayero who is now the Emir of Bichi and Aminu Ado Bayero who is also the current Emir of Kano promised to look into our situation after our father died. But every year I have been begging for help; for the past six years since our father died, nobody is doing anything. I don’t understand why they have to abandon us.
“During my dad’s lifetime, he used to send Nasiru to take care of some stuff if our father couldn’t because he was so busy. So Nasiru used to be the one giving us money for settling feeding and upkeep. So Nasiru was always part of our lives as a big brother. Even when my brother was born, Nasiru was part of the people that came to do the naming rituals and he used to visit us all the time to give us gifts, but when the Emir died, he became distant and no longer used to be the loving brother when my father was alive.”
She said since she passed out of secondary school, she could not further her education while her younger brother’s education was halted in SS1. She therefore, begged the Federal Government to give her and her younger brother scholarship so that they can go back to school and finish their education.
“We have been to different Emirs and even Ooni of Ife to talk to my father’s family but they are not listening to them. Even former Emir, Sanusi was aware about the situation. Right now we just want the government of Nigeria to intervene in our situation because as citizens of Nigeria, we deserve the right to live and have access to education. My father’s sons have oppressed us and they refused to help. They sabotage and they lied against us. We are refugees in our own country,” she lamented.
She narrated how some operatives of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police were sent after her mother the last time she spoke out to the media in Abuja. She alleged that the family of the late Ado Bayero had warned her mother not to talk to the press again, hence their plea that their pictures should not be published along with this story for the purpose of their safety.
Princess Hauwa’s father, Ahmed Momoh was the Otaru of Auchi, Edo State and a close friend of the late Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero. Ahmed in 1984 handed over his daughter to the emir to be her guardian and also assist her with admission into the Bayero University, Kano. However, Hauwa and the late emir became so intimate and became pregnant for him and later went on to have another child for the emir bringing to two the number of kids for the emir.
Zainab spoke further on their plight in this question and answer.
Can you tell us the issue you want the public to know about?
My name is Zainab Ado Bayero, I was born in Kano. My mother is Princess Hauwa Momoh from Edo state. I was born, raised in Kano and I went to school there. When I was 10, my mum gave birth to my younger brother and we shared the same dad. His name is Ahmed Tijani Ado Bayero.
In 2014, when my dad passed away, we were in Kano but at that point, we were trying to get what we could put in place to live a normal life in terms of financial means to get a home, start a new life, and for my mum to start a business. At that point, my dad was really ill and he had been going for medical checkups.
Two weeks prior to his death, we went to see him at his place and he was very weak and we told him, we needed to have our place to settle down and he said he would send one of his sons to talk to us about everything. And that his son is the third son, Nasiru Ado Bayero who is now the Emir of Bichi. He has been part of the whole journey for years.
During my Dad’s lifetime, he used to send Nasiru to take care of some stuffs if he couldn’t because he was so busy. So he used to be the one giving us money for settling feeding and upkeeps. So he was always part of our lives as a big brother. Even when my brother was born, he was part of the people that came to do the naming rituals and he used to visit us all the time to give us gifts, but when the Emir died, he became distant and no longer used to be the loving brother when my dad was alive.
What could have made Emir Nasiru to distance himself from you people? Was your mum legally married to the late Ado Bayero?
(Princess Huawa cuts in…)
If I’m not legally married, does that mean we should be punished and his children should not be taken care of and catered for.
Emir Bayero was my father’s best friend. My father sent me to him to be my guardian because I wanted to go to school, Bayero University in Kano. That was how we met. Then he told my father that he wanted to marry me, that he didn’t want me to go to school.
My mum is a princess; she is the daughter of the Emir’s friend who was also a monarch from Auchi, the late Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Ahmed Guruza Momoh from Edo state. He was Emir’s best friend. Momoh sent my mother to him to be her guardian because she wanted to go to Bayero University. And he told my mum’s dad that he wanted to marry her, that’s how they met.
So we were living in Kano in one of his traditional homes, not to far from the palace. We were living there for years. My brother and I were raised from there and we were very close to one of his brothers, Tijani Ashim who was also a caretaker for our needs. If my dad was too busy, he would direct him to us. He was the second in command to my dad. He also died 100 days after my dad died.
The new Emir of Kano, Aminu Bayero, after my dad’s death, we pleaded with him that we needed help to get back to school, needed a home and start a new life. We were ready to leave Kano because we didn’t want to live in Kano anymore since our dad died. Aminu said the money was not with him, that Emir’s assets were in Nasiru’s care. That he would to talk Nasiru to give us what we needed that he didn’t even need to involve the entire family to do so.
And when we went back, we saw Nasiru in his home, he just came back from a trip to London, and he promised to help us get back to our feet. About a week later, we didn’t get response from either Aminu or Nasiru, we went back to Aminu, he said his hands were tight, he didn’t know what to do that he has been talking to Nasiru and he seems to be recalcitrant. That maybe we should just go and we said, we have nowhere to go? He said he didn’t have money that Nasiru that has the money was not listening to him.
Before our dad died, the home we were living was vandalised and things were stolen there. At that point, we didn’t have where we were living. We were living in a hotel. He gave us N200, 000 the next day for transport, that they would call us. So we left. And my mum was trying to feed us without the help of the family. After four weeks, Aminu called and said they were ready and that Nasiru would do all that’s needed to be done.
Then we went to see Nasiru. We saw him at Hilton, he said he was traveling to UK that when he comes back, he would call us. He traveled; we didn’t hear anything even after 10 days. We didn’t hear anything from him and Aminu. They stopped picking our calls and we have no access to them again. We were homeless at that point.
So my brother who was in SS1 when our dad died had to stop his education. But luckily, I was already done with secondary school and I could not further my education since then. For the past six years, my brother has been out of school. So, my brother and I have been out of school and homeless. My mother was trying to get something to raise us.
When my dad was alive, my mother was not doing anything because my dad didn’t let her go to school or do anything. So she has no means to do business or anything. And we have been trying to survive but it has been so hard. About nine months of going around trying to settle, get a rent, nothing was happening.
So she decided to speak out in the media about what we are going through. When my mum spoke out, the hotel we were staying, a policeman came and he said he was a DPO that he came to check on her, that my mum wanted to commit suicide. My mum said, yes, because of the situation we were going through. Then the next day, a group of SARS men attacked the hotel. Fortunately, we weren’t in the room we were in the night before. The hotel staff came that we needed to vacate the room and we asked her why, she said she saw some policemen discussing outisde that there was a woman in this hotel with two kids and her name is Princess Momoh, that she posted something on the internet. They told them we were not in the hotel. The SARS men were sent to my mum because she spoke with the media. Obviously, my father’s sons were behind the attack. Fortunately, we fled the hotel. And when my mum called Nasiru’s aide, she asked him, ‘what is going on? Why did you send people to kill me?’ He said ‘you know what, just keep quiet and don’t speak out.’ That she shouldn’t speak with anybody. So my mum made a decision not talk again because she didn’t want us to be orphans.
How have you been coping?
It’s been hell. We have been going from place to place to get help from people and my father’s friends and anyone that could be of help, just to get out of this situation. Everybody that’s close to my father has been talking to them, but they are not listening. We have been to different Emirs and even Ooni of Ife to talk to them but they are not listening to them. Even former Emir, Sanusi was aware about the situation. He asked us to see him at the palace, when we went there, they didn’t allow us to see him.
We even saw Kano State Governor, Ganduje in Abuja, we told him we needed a scholarship, home and all we are going through; that Emir’s sons refused to help us. He promised to help, that we should come to Kano and see him and since then we didn’t have access to him. His Personal Assistant (PA), was giving excuses when we went to Kano and he prevented us from seeing the governor and we were almost stranded.
What do you want your people to do for you now?
Right now, as we speak out, they will be after our lives and threatening us but we don’t care because we need to survive. This is the part of the Muslim mentality, hating people to speak out for their right. Speaking out right now is like we have signed our death sentence, how dare you speak out against the new Emir in power. He has everyone at his side, the government. We have even been to lawyers but no one wants to take the case. We have been to monarchs and everyone take their side when they speak to them. No one wants to help. You can see even the Governor of Kano is on their side. We even went to Edo state to see Governor Obaseki about three years ago, but we couldn’t see him. We even wrote a letter, there was no response. It’s been this kind of journey where we are homeless. We even go to different states to go and get help. Sometimes, we’ll be stranded and we won’t have where to stay and no transport. That is how we have been living. Before getting to Lagos, it was a friend, who helped to buy tickets for transport. If not, we would have been completely stranded in Abuja.
Right now, we just want the government of Nigeria to intervene in our situation because as citizens of Nigeria, we deserve the right to live and have access to education.
My father’s sons have oppressed us and they refused to help. They make excuses. I think they tell people lies that they help us. That is why people don’t want to listen to us. They sabotage and they lie against us. We just want to live a normal life because if we walk on the street, we always watch our back as if somebody is going to attack us. Because in Kano emirate, they believe they are above the law and no one has the right to talk against them or protest against them. We are refugees in our own country. We want both Federal and state governments to intervene.