The Sayawa people of Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa Local Government Areas of Bauchi State have tendered their apologies to the Emirs of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu, and that of Dass, Alhaji Bilyaminu Othman, for the attack on them last Friday by some hoodlums on their way to Mwari for the 21st anniversary of a late leader and crusader, Peter Gonto.
The PUNCH had reported that the convoys of the two Emirs were on their way to the book launch/anniversary lecture and Foundation launch, of Gonto, when they were attacked which made them turn back to Bauchi with some vehicles in their convoys damaged. The windscreen of the Emir of Dass was among the vehicles partly destroyed.
Gonto was the first Christian convert in Sayawa land, later became an evangelist and leader of his people.
The event has caused sharp division among the Sayawa people in the two LGAs with different groups coming out to support the event while others, on the other hand, including a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, kicked against the event citing security concerns which were capable of breaching the peace in the area should it be allowed to hold.
Dogara, who represents Dass/Tafawa Balewa/Bogoro Constituency in the House of Representatives and is in his fourth term, then wrote a letter to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, informing him of security threats if the event is allowed to hold.
But despite the warning, the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, Umar Sanda, gave approval for the event to hold just as he ordered the full deployment of police tactical teams to provide security to lives and properties before, during and after the memorial anniversary and book launch of the grandfather of Dogara’s wife.
The approval by the Police and the organisers’ continuation with arrangements did not go down well with a majority of the people in the area as there were protests by women and youths in Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro LGAs.
Shortly after the memorial lecture and book launch commenced on Friday at the Government Secondary School, Mwari in Bogoro LGA, women and youths besieged the venue of the event forcing it to end abruptly.
They later set the venue on fire burning down chairs, canopies, musical equipment and many other properties. Ten houses were later confirmed by the Bauchi State Police Command in a statement, as having been burnt during the crisis.
But worried by the attack on the revered first-class Emirs, the Zaar Development Association, an umbrella body of the Sayawa people in the two LGAs, at a press conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists Secretariat, Bauchi, said they were saddened by the action of the hoodlums whose aim was to cause division and disaffection amongst the people.
The President of the Association, Engr. Isuwa Gallah, flanked by Member representing Bogoro Constituency in the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Musa Nakwada; Commissioner of Agriculture, Jidauna Tula; Special Adviser on Legal Matters to the Bauchi State governor, Barrister Kefas Magaji; and others, said they feel embarrassed that the ugly incident happened.
He said, “Before the slated dates of the event which were 30th and 31st December 2021, the Chairman of Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa LGAs who are the Chief Security Officers of their respective LGAs had written to the Commissioner of Police, Bauchi State assuring him that from the security reports available to them, there were no threats to the planned reception.
“We, however, demand that the security agencies should ask Rt Hon Dogara the source(s) of his information on the alleged threat to violence.
“The ugly event that started on 29th, and was consummated on 30 and 31 December were, therefore, not accidental but could have been planned and properly executed.
“We are totally embarrassed and wish to use this medium to condemn in strong terms and apologise on behalf of ourselves and the entire Sayawa (Zaar) communities in Tafawa Balawa and Bogors LGAs and those in the diaspora.
“We further support whatever step will take in order to identify both the remote and immediate perpetrators of this dastardly act.”
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