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Days of rage in Yobe

Posted by By ABU ONYELEBOCHO, Damaturu on 2006/04/11 | Views: 471 |

Days of rage in Yobe

Yobe State goes by the inspiring pet name: “The Young Shall Grow,” but rather than live in accordance with that philosophy, through adequate nurture, some people in the state have elected to toe the path of destruction.

Yobe State goes by the inspiring pet name: “The Young Shall Grow,” but rather than live in accordance with that philosophy, through adequate nurture, some people in the state have elected to toe the path of destruction.

They have chosen to be vandals rather than builders. Instead of embracing peace, they tread the path of intolerance and war. In a way, it would appear that Yobe is growing into violence and a culture of intolerance.

In recent times, the state has witnessed series of violent religious crises and bloody eruptions. In February, the Prophet Mohammed cartoon riot, which spilled over from Maiduguri, took a large toll on Damagum, Gadaka and Potiskum. While the commission of inquiry headed by Lt. Col. Zakari Jibo (retd) was still battling to probe the crisis, a fresh one erupted in Buni Yadi and Nguru in March.

The toll in term of human and material loss was enormous. In Potiskum alone, nine churches were razed. Similarly, homes, property, and shops with wares worth millions of naira belonging to fellow citizens went up in flames.Several persons sustained various degrees of injuries, while Mr. Vincent Nnamuka, a carpenter with St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Potiskum, was not so lucky as he was stabbed to death. In Gadaka town, the Redeemed Christian Church of God and the Holy Trinity Catholic Church were destroyed, while the Anglicans lost theirs at Damagum.

In spite of series of appeals by the state Governor, Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim, his deputy, Alhaji Aliyu Saleh Bagare, top government officials, traditional and spiritual leaders to the people to embrace peace, deviants remained undeterred taking the law into their hands at the slightest opportunity. Not even the stern warnings from police and other security agencies were able to stem the ugly tide.

Just recently in Nguru, some deviants destroyed government and public property. Irate youths went wild and set ablaze two trucks belonging to the fire service unit and the Lower Area Court building as well as offices of the State Security Services (SSS) and the National Population Commission (NPC).

According to security sources, the latest riots were sparked off by what they considered tardiness on the part of the fire brigade in responding to a distress call on fire outbreak that gutted more than 14 shops at the Nguru central market.

Daily Sun gathered that it was the perceived ‘negligence’ of the personnel of the fire service unit that angered the irate youths. By the time their anger subsided, they had caused more damages than the fire outbreak.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Hussaini Bulama, who confirmed the incident at the Police Command headquarters in Damaturu, told Daily Sun that some persons had been arrested in connection with the incident and were being interrogated at the State Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (SIIB).

Few days before the Nguru incident, Buni Yadi village had a taste of the culture of violence as some persons set ablaze a mosque and the house of the District Head of Wagir, Alhaji Abba Mohammed. He escaped lynching by the whiskers.He,however, sustained injuries. Some churches and the house of the State Security Officer in the area were also burnt and vandalized.

This crisis was said to have been induced by the arrest of a known Islamic preacher in Buni Yadi, Mallam Jibrin. Although police refused to disclose the reason for the arrest, some of the people who escaped from Buni Yadi to take refuge in Damaturu told Daily Sun that the preacher was overheard telling his followers of how some atrocities committed in the area were being covered by some influential persons and security personnel in the community.

Another version has it that the preacher, who was seen as an Islamic fundamentalist, was encouraging his followers to rise up against government authorities, and especially the royal throne which had prevented the fundamentalists in the area from carrying out a planned attack on the Principal of the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of the Police in charge of Zone 12, Bauchi, Uba Ringim, with the Acting Commissioner of Police (DCP), Austin Obaedo, has visited Buni Yadi to assess the situation.

The AIG, while appealing to the people of the area to shun violence and embrace dialogue, pledged to ensure that the law takes its course in any situation within his zone. He said the consequence of violence has always been grievous and irreparable.
Perhaps, what he failed to add is that if the state is to grow, it must learn to shun violence and embrace peace.

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