Billiri violence: The law must take its course, Gov Inuwa vows
By Ben Ngwakwe, Gombe
No society develops and prospers in an atmosphere filled with violence, injustice and lack of fairness.
This is because as the saying goes, he who goes to equity should go with clean hands.
That is why leaders and the led always canvass for dialogue and peaceful resolutions of conflicts because of its multiple effects of the destruction of lives and property, breakdown of law and order, tampering with peace and stability of the society as well as creating negative narratives within the polity and the society.
This may be unconnected with the distorting narratives that happened in Billiri Local Government Area of Gombe State recently. On Saturday, Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya addressed the state regarding the recent crisis in Billiri part of the state in which peace, stability and happiness were touched.
In a Statewide broadcast to the people of Gombe State on 20th, February 2021, the Governor extended
his deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of all those who lost their lives or properties in the light of the unfortunate incident and assured them that he would do everything within his powers to protect the lives and property of the innocent citizens.
Adding that as a people known for their cherished peace and stability that Violence, sectarianism and extremism have no place in their culture and tradition hence those conflict merchants who sought to profit from the violence by setting brothers upon brothers, families upon families, and communities upon communities would soon be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The Governor explained also that following the demise of His Royal Highness, late Abdu Buba Maisheru II, and in line with established laws and traditions that were set in motion the process for the selection of a new Mai Tangle, the process, which was transparent and devoid of any interference, led to the forwarding of three recommended candidates by the Tangale Traditional Kingmakers, from among whom the Government would select the candidate to fill the vacant stool of Mai Tangle as the law provided.
“As Governor, I approached the Mai Tangale succession process with a high sense of responsibility. Because, as part of Gombe State’s cultural tradition, any decision I take will have a far-reaching implication on not only the Tangale chiefdom but the entire Gombe State. That’s why I undertook widespread consultations, conducted background checks and engaged in the personal reflection in order to arrive at a decision that is in the best interest of the people and the state”.
Explaining further he said,
“let it be clear that it is within my powers as governor to appoint any of the three recommended candidates to become the new Mai Tangle. Let it also be clear that no official pronouncement was made about any candidate before, during and after the eruption of violence in Billiri Local Government Area”.
The violence, the Governor pointed out, was orchestrated by some unpatriotic individuals who thought they could blackmail the government into announcing their preferred candidate.
” Let me make it clear that our administration will never cow into any blackmail, threat, intimidation or witch-hunt from any individual or group no matter how highly placed”.
“The people of Gombe State have a history of peaceful coexistence and interrelationship among our various tribes and religions. This relationship should not be allowed to suffer because of the selfish interest of some violent minority who seek to turn the succession process into a religious contest. The succession battle is a Tangale cum Gombe State affair and all the three recommended candidates are eminently qualified Tangale princes by virtue of their royal ancestry to the Mai Tangale stool”.
” By history, and in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, religion is not a criterion in selecting the new Mai Tangale or any public office for that matter”.
The Governor also added that “the eruption of violence in Billiri LGA has left us with no option than to declare a 24-hour curfew to further stem the spread of violence, loss of lives and destruction of property”.
“To this end, Government is withholding any decision on the new Mai Tangale until normalcy returns to the affected communities” while noting with dismay the dangerous campaign of incitement and polarization waged by some unscrupulous elements on social media.
“Government will vigorously discharge its role of protecting innocent citizens and combating criminality and violence anywhere in Gombe State”, while calling on the traditional, religious and opinion leaders to prevail on their people on the need to remain calm, peaceful and law-abiding.
The Governor also called on the media to refrain from promoting fake news and other divisive and inciteful narratives.
Saying that “Government in collaboration with relevant Security Agencies has put in place adequate measures to ensure the protection of lives and property of all the people living in Gombe State.
“Our cherished peace and stability in Gombe State are bigger than the selfish interest or ambition of any individual or group”.
The Governor used the opportunity to thank the people of Gombe State and their friends across the world for their continued support and prayers, especially in these trying times while Government would continue to pursue its genuine developmental agenda for all the people across all areas of the economic and social endeavours.
He cautioned that they would neither be blackmailed nor distracted from the noble path of maintaining peace, promoting friendly coexistence and delivering democratic dividends to all the people while the task of providing peace and development in Gombe State is a collective responsibility that all men and women of goodwill should join hands to promote.