Billiri violent protests: Gombe Govt inaugurates commission of inquiry

The Gombe State Government on Monday inaugurated an 11-man commission of enquiry into the Billiri violence that followed the appointment of the new traditional ruler of Tangale Chiefdom.

Inaugurating the commission in Gombe, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya noted that the protests resulted in the deaths of innocent persons, damage and destruction of valuable properties.

Yahaya said the violence could have been given a religious or political colouration or both.

The governor said, however, that it was undeniable that the spread of fake news contributed immensely to the escalation of the violence.

“It is in light of this that the Gombe State Government strongly believes that determining the causes of the crisis is needed to sanction those involved, and take necessary measures to prevent future occurrence.”

He stated that the commission Chaired by Retired Justice Mahmud Gurama and Mr Musa Saidu as Secretary, had 60 days to submit their report to the state government.

According to Yahaya, the terms of reference of the commission include finding out the remote and immediate causes of the violent protests; identify person or group of persons who sponsored, procured, instigated or encouraged the violent protests.

“And to recommend sanctions or remedial measures against such person or group of persons; receive and investigate complaints from victims or the families of victims.

“Make appropriate recommendations to government on measures and means of preventing the future occurrence of violent protests and how to make perpetrators account for their acts,” among others.

Yahaya urged members of the commission to be thorough and fair in discharging their assigned responsibilities while calling on the people to assist the commission with honest, useful and genuine information.

The governor noted that in order to cushion the effects of the violent protests, the state government recently distributed a “considerable quantity of palliatives to the people directly and indirectly affected by the crisis”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was a violent protest in Billiri community over alleged government’s delay in appointing the new Mai Tangle.

The protests lasted between Feb. 17 and 20, 2021. (NAN