Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, on late Tuesday evening, led heads of security agencies in the state and top functionaries of his administration on a visit to Nyuwar, Jessu and Yolde communities of Balanga Local Government Area of the state where several lives were lost and property worth millions of Naira destroyed as a result of communal clash involving Waja and Lunguda ethnic groups.
The governor, upon arrival to the most affected communities of Nyuwar and Jessu, interacted with the community leaders and youths on the genesis of the crisis, where he sympathised with them and assured them of safety, saying his administration will not fold its arms to allow such callous act being unleashed on innocent citizens.
A visibly angry Inuwa Yahaya said, “As you can see, I am leading all heads of security agencies in Gombe State to your community just to show you how committed the government is in ensuring that this crisis was brought to an end.”
He added that “I want to inform you that one of the measures we have taken was to impose a curfew to check movements of everyone and we have deployed security personnel to protect you and your property until normalcy is restored.”
The governor further said that “Let me extend my heartfelt condolences to you over the loss of precious lives and property as a result of this senseless act. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and as a responsible government we are conscious of our responsibilities of safeguarding the lives and property of our people.”
The governor, therefore, built confidence in the residents of the affected communities that security personnel from the Nigerian Police, Army, Civil Defence Corps and DSS will work closely with them to identify all actors involved in the heinous act for arrest and prosecution.
While appealing to the affected communities to cooperate with the government and security agencies, Inuwa Yahaya said the state government will immediately provide relief materials to the victims to cushion their sufferings.
Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya defied the difficult terrain in the mountainous Balanga South to see things for himself for a fair assessment of damages recorded in the crisis to enable him to take decisive measures in forestalling the recurrence of the mayhem.
At Nyuwar, the representative of the district head, Mr Yohanna Istifanus narrated to the governor how his community was stormed by attackers in the late hours of the night.
He said, “We were asleep with our families in our homes only to have seen an armed militia with various kinds of dangerous weapons setting our houses and food storage facilities ablaze and asking us to vacate from the land else they will wipe out the entire Lunguda tribal communities from existence.”
The traditional ruler added that “The attack has claimed eight lives of our people as we were caught off guards and the attackers have threatened to return tonight with the expectation of having a field day as they did earlier but with the presence of His Excellency the Governor and his prompt intervention through the deployment of security agencies we feel happy and pray the law will take its course on the perpetrators.”
At Jessu, a community leader, Mr Jason Jase who conducted the governor round, said they lost seven persons in the community and several houses and food storage facilities were incinerated.
The community leaders severally thanked Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for his timely intervention which they said will go a long way in limiting the level of damages the crisis could have caused and instilling confidence in them.
On the entourage of the governor were the Deputy Governor, Dr Manassah Daniel Jatau, Secretary to the State Government, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi, Commissioner of Internal Security and his Water Resources counterpart, Commissioner of Police, Director, State Security Service, Commander 301 Artillery Regiment and Chairman of Balanga Local Government among other Government functionaries and security personnel.
Governor Yahaya had earlier convened an emergency security meeting in his office following which the government imposed a 24-hour curfew on Nyuwar, Jessu and Yolde communities with immediate effect to douse the tension and restore peace and order in the affected areas.
Security personnel have already been deployed to restore normalcy while the curfew will subsist until further notice as contained in a statement by Ismaila Uba Misilli, Director-General, ( Press Affairs) Government House.
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Waja-Lunguda communal clash: Gombe gov visits affected communities in Balanga south
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