Published February 22, 2021
Olalekan Adetayo and Chima Azubuike
THE President , Muhammadu Buhari (
, on Sunday regretted that Nigerians had shed enough blood over issues that could have been peacefully resolved.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu , the President spoke while reacting to the violence in Gombe State arising from the Billiri chieftaincy tussle .
The statement was titled , ‘Billiri chieftaincy tussle : President Buhari condemns violence , calls for maximum restraint to avoid escalation’ .
Shehu quoted the President as expressing “ great shock and deep concern ” over the incident .
The President said, “ I’ m seriously disturbed by the outbreak of violence in Gombe State and call on the parties involved to exercise maximum restraint to avoid escalation.
“ The easy resort to violence is uncalled for because there are enough avenues to resolve differences amicably without threatening law and order .
“ In a circle of violence, there are no winners , except losers . Muslims and Christians should avoid the temptation of resorting to violence in order to express their grievances .
“ Nigerians have shed enough blood over issues that could have been peacefully resolved . I appeal to the two parties to sheathe their swords for the sake of peaceful coexistence . Gombe has enjoyed relative religious harmony for decades and you shouldn ’ t allow hoodlums destroy this positive record .”
Churches in Gombe end services over communal clash
In a related development, following the burning of a mosque, home of Galadima Tangale by suspected hoodlums and destruction of shops in Billiri LGA, churches hurriedly closed services in some parts of the state capital on Sunday .
The PUNCH on Sunday observed that some churches in the state metropolis claimed they got security intelligence to close earlier.
Recall that for about three days , women protested over what they termed government delay tactics in declaring the next Mai Tangale since the kingmakers completed the election involving three candidates.
Addressing his congregation , the pastor in charge of MercyLand RCCG , Tunfure , Akko LGA , Samuel Elebiyo , said the worldwide prayer walk called by the church leadership would be suspended , adding that the decision was in line with the directives of security agencies.
Elebiyo said , “ If Pastor ( Enoch ) Adeboye , were to be here, he would obey the government . So, we will just take two prayer points here and close . The Police and Navy in their emblem vehicles came here and they said they received intelligence that churches might be attacked because of the Billiri crisis. ”
In another parish monitored within the metropolis , members , instead of embarking on prayer walk, also restricted their prayer to the premises before disengaging.
When contacted, the North – East chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria , Abari Kalla, dismissed the scare , saying , “ I’m not aware . ”
Governor Inuwa Yahaya had on Saturday said the curfew in the troubled area would persist , while suspending any further announcement of the substantive monarch .