Bauchi — Obviously convinced that their present predicament had gone beyond the ability of man to solve, the people of Zaar community in Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro local government areas of Bauchi State recently decided to appeal directly to God for divine intervention. Wanting an end to the multiple crises bedevilling their communities, the people had embarked on a three-day joint session of fasting and prayer.
They had for this purpose converged at the St Mary Catholic Church in Tafawa Balewa and St Luke Catholic in Bogoro between April 14 and 16, 2014.
The three-day joint fasting and prayer programme entitled: “Arise for our help and redeem us” was organised by the Christian Elders Forum of Northern Nigeria, NCOSCEF and the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN.
While appealling to God, the affected communities in the two local governments had tabled among their problems the prevailing insecurity in the area, the removal of the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa local secretariat to Bununu town, the detention of 12 of their sons for three years and the closure of Government Girls Secondary School in the area for four years.
Of particular concern is the ethno-religious crisis in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area which has continued to erupt intermittently over the years, thus keeping peace at bay. The cause of the present fracas was said to be a calculated attempt by the Fulani herdsmen to cause problem and possess the land, a situation regarded as a twin brother to what is happening in Plateau State.
Vanguard Metro, VM, gathered that some people(suspected to be Fulani) dressed in black, launched a surprise attack in the area called Wasasa ward of the local government and shot a young man of over 20 years. They also burnt seven houses. But the attackers were forced to flee when people in villages like Kuturu, Malanchi, Gongo, Gumel and Gital in the local government mobilised to protect themselves.
This attack and many others are part of reasons the people in these affected local government are soliciting God’s help in visiting vengeance on their enemies.
When VM visited the Saint Mary Catholic Church Tafawa Balewa during the three-day prayer and fasting programme, the Anglican Bishop of Bauchi Diocese, Musa Tula had in a fervent sermon decried the removal of Tafawa Balewa local government Secretariat to Bununu, the detention of seven persons from Tafawa Balewa in prison custody for three years and the closure of the only girls Secondary School for four years.
According to him: “Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa local governments have been experiencing attacks by Fulani herds men who appear bent on eliminating our generation. The most pathetic thing is that the state government is not showing any concern over our predicaments,but has left us to our fate. Now that we are left on our own, we have no choice than to report our frustrations and the injustice to God because people are out to wipe out the entire Sayawa people from the state.
“The state government must explain why seven of our youths are still in prison custody since 2011 without committing any offence. Among the 12 that were initially arrested, five have been released while seven are still suffering in prison even after the High Court declared them innocent. This is injustice and we are taking legal action against the state government”.
He said that the relocation of Tafawa Balewa headquaters to Bununu town was uncalled for, stressing that it has not stopped the killing of innocent lives in the two affected local governments.
“We all know Maiduguri is a crisis-ridden area and hundreds of people are being slaughtered almost everyday,but President Goodluck Jonathan did not relocate any local government to anywhere. Why did the state government relocate Tafawa Balewa headquarters to Bununu? The government must make its intention known because it shows that it has a hidden agenda.
“We must seek the face of God. Enough is enough. Life is precious because it is created by God and anybody that shed human blood must be punished by God,” he submitted heatedly.
While speaking with VM, the State Deputy CAN Chairman, Timothy Gaumi, said that residents have been traumatized over the state of insecurity in the local government. According to him: “When you complain to a government and nobody hears you, it can be very disheartening. We are now left no other option than to report our case to God. I can recall vividly in 2011, this land was engulfed in crisis. Our people were killed and our houses, shops and market places were been burnt down.
“To our dismay, the government on the 28th of January 2011 came and told us that they will demolish Tafawa Balewa and turn it to a grazing land if the fighting continued. None of us have been fighting, rather we have been attacked everyday. On the 10th of March of that same year, more than two thousand people came to our local government with deadly weapons early in the morning and attacked us. In 2012, the same gunmen came again and attacked us by bombing our houses; it was a terrible experience”.
But Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State defended the relocation of the headquarters of the crisis-ridden Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area from Tafawa Balewa to a neutral ground at Bununu, saying it was to avert further bloodbath.
The Governor said that the relocation had halted the spate of destruction of lives and property, which was almost spreading to neighbouring states. He said that there was no justification whatsoever for groups, which should be living together in peace, to be embroiled in ceaseless conflicts largely propelled by religious intolerance, as neither Christianity nor Islam preaches violence.
“We had to say enough is enough to the ugly and near intractable situation by insisting that no further blood be shed on the land on account of the disagreement between some groups in the area.
“We believe the action has paved the way for relative peace in the local government and we pray that blood will never be shed again on this land which was founded by Tafawa Balewa, our leader and man of peace and unity,” he said.
Governor Yuguda, who insisted that Bununu had come to stay as the local government headquarters, also inaugurated a community radio station there and promised to build a hospital and other vital amenities to make life more meaningful for the people.
Category: Bauchi State News