President Muhammadu Buhari, National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, governors and other dignitaries witnessed the funeral.
Some of the late emir’s subjects, well-wishers and mourners broke down in tears
The late emir, a former minister and ex-senator, died on Friday in a German hospital. He was 77.
His remains were brought in by an Arik Air plane marked 5N-JEA, which landed at 11.00am at New Bussa Airport in Niger State.
The body was received by Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and his Kebbi counterpart, Atiku Bagudu.
After about 20-minute formalities at the airport, the body was brought out of the plane in a brown mahogany casket.
While some in the crowd pushed forward to touch the casket, some of them broke down in tears on sighting it.
Those crying were shouting: “See my Sarki, see my Sarki”.
Many others who gathered at the Emir’s Palace wept when the body arrived in a Nigeria Air Force hearse marked AF 221 BO1 around11:45 a.m.
Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari, Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun and Minister-designate Alhaji Lai Mohammed attended the ceremony.
Also there was Major Hamza El-Mustapha, the former chief security officer to the late Head of State Gen. Sani Abacha.
Some of those who attended the funeral included the Chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers and Emir of Bida, Yahaya Abubakar, who led other traditional rulers.
Most churches cut short their services because of the emir’s burial.
Markets and shops were also closed. Security was tight.
Buhari and Tinubu arrived at the late Emir’s palace at 2:12pm.
The President did not speak to reporters.
Tinubu, who was turbaned Jagaban Borgu by the late emir in 2006, spoke with reporters.
Clad in cream-colour agbada and brown cap and shoes to match, he told reporters: “He was a very close friend and compatriot. His death is a very personal loss to me. Particularly, it was very painful because when I saw him last Wednesday, he was looking radiant and ready to come back home.
“And this sudden death is a great loss to the country. He is a patriot and a committed democrat and a valued Nigerian and a true leader of his people, not just limited to this kingdom, but across Africa. He is a bridge-builder and a unifier.”
The prayer for the repose of his soul at the palace before burial was led by Chief Imam of New Bussa, Alhaji Ahmed Shehu.
Some of the late emirs’ subjects spoke about him.
Hajiya Halima Kudi said he was the emir of the people and accepted everyone into his kingdom, even strangers.
She said: “It was during his reign as Emir that many others people came to settle in New Bussa. He was friendly to us and addressed our plight whenever we had one. His death is very painful to us.”
Another resident Aminu Yusuf described the late emir as a good and honest man that sponsored many children in his kingdom and accepted everyone as his own.
He said: “He sponsored our children to school and formed skills acquisition centres for them to ensure that they have some skills to fall back to. Now that he is gone, what are we going to do? Who is going to continue these things? Will there be another emir like him? Our benefactor is gone.”
Alhaji Baba Kudu, another resident, said the late Eemir was simple and close to the people and has a listening ear.
“No one goes into his palace without him listening to their plight and he tries his best to address it. It does not matter if you are an indigene or not; he listens to all. A very simple man with a heart of gold. He was the backbone of this kingdom. We will miss him a lot. I cannot say much, I just feel sad.”
Another female subject, who did not want her name mentioned, said: “He is a man that has no problem with the people and government. He cares for us. He had open arms and heart, ready to welcome and help his people.
“Although I am a stranger here, I could see the way he treated strangers and I was encouraged. His death is very painful and sudden. We never expected that such calamity will fall on us.”