Gombe Easter tragedy: Deputy gov, CAN leaders call for calm
Christians in Gombe State particularly the youths have been called upon by the State Government and the leadership of the Christian Association (CAN) in the North-East to remain calm following the alleged killings of eleven members of the Boys Brigade (BB) by an unidentified officer of the NSCDC during an Easter procession last Sunday night.
The Gombe State Deputy Governor, Charles Iliya, who was accompanied by the State CAN Chairman, Reverend Ibrahim Joda as well as the North-East CAN Chairman, Reverend Abare Kalla, also appealed for calm as he assured that Government will not allow the unfortunate incident to go just like that.
While addressing parents and other Christian mourners who thronged the Gombe State Specialist Hospital where the dead were deposited at the mortuary and the injured receiving treatment, the Gombe State Deputy Governor, Mr Charles Iliya also said that the State Government will foot the hospital bills of all those receiving treatments as a result of the incident.
The Deputy Governor who spoke amidst boos and jeers from the angry youths said that he was pained too and that Government was not behind the unfortunate incident, stressing that “we have spoken to the security authorities and they have assured us that action will be taken”.
Earlier, while going around with the Deputy Governor, the Gombe State CAN Chairman, Reverend Ibrahim Joda, appealed for calm among the Christian faithful and described the incident as a very sad moment for Christians in this period of Easter when they were supposed to be celebrating the resurrection of the risen Lord. He also offered prayers for healing of the injured and for the repose of the souls of those that died.
Also speaking in an interview with newsmen, the North-East Chairman of CAN, Reverend Abare Kalla, said though it was painful, he said calm and caution must be the watchword now because according to him, “we must be calm now to avoid the breach of peace and then pursue justice thereafter”.
Tension had engulfed the Gombe State capital Monday morning when news broke out on the alleged killings of eleven Boys Brigade (BB) members by an officer of the NSCDC and his Police friend on Sunday night when the youths were observing their usual Easter procession.
It was also gathered that the officers, after exchanging words with the youths during the procession, used a different lane and passed, only to turn back with the headlight of the vehicle switched off and deliberately rammed into the youths from behind killing eight persons on the spot. The youths, in turn, chased the security officers who were not on duty, caught them and applied jungle justice to the Security officers.
Gombe State Police Commissioner, Bello Makwashi, while reacting on the incident on phone to newsmen, confirmed the incident and said nine persons died. He, however, denied the identity of the friend to the NSCDC officer as a Policeman but said an investigation was ongoing.