By Hajara Leman
The Gombe State Government says 16 suspects, including security personnel, have been arrested in connection with attacks in Billiri Local Government Area of the state, over demands by the people for the state to name the Mai Tangale of the area.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that violent protest was recorded in Billiri from Tuesday, as women in black attire blocked the Gombe-Yola federal highway over alleged state government’s delay in appointing the new Mai Tangale after kingmakers recommended three persons.
Mr Dauda Batari, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Ethical Orientation, made this known at a news conference on Monday in Gombe shortly after the security council meeting presided by Gov. Inuwa Yahaya.
He said 15 of the suspects would be arraigned while the 16th suspect, a security personnel was still under further investigation.
He said security personnel were already on the trail of suspected masterminds of the mayhem, adding that four corpses were recovered by the police.
According to him, an assessment team will be set up to determine the persons affected, property destroyed and lives lost with a view to offering support to the victims.
Also in view of the severity of the attacks, government has taken proactive measures in engaging with religious groups and all other stakeholders with a view to averting reprisal attacks.
Batari said government had directed chairmen of all the 11 local government areas in the state to put worship places under security surveillance to forestall likely attacks by miscreants.
He further said the state government would set up a panel of inquiry to get to the remote and immediate causes of the incident to avert future occurrence.
The commissioner said the council expressed dismay over the spread of fake news, especially through the social media by some unscrupulous elements who tried to create a scenario of situations that were never there.
“Council therefore directs security agencies to fish out those spreading fake news for the purpose of prosecuting them,” he said.
NAN also reports that the protests led to the imposition of a 24-hour curfew on Billiri Local Government Area by the state government on Friday, as part of measures to restore normalcy to the affected communities.
The Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Ibrahim Njodi, confirmed that three names were submitted to governor Yahaya and the governor was consulting as well conducting background checks on the candidates.