The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Billiri Local Government Area of Gombe State, where Muslim mosque was set on fire and some members killed last because a Muslim was to be announced as king, has pleaded for forgiveness from their Muslim brothers over the violence.
The DEFENDER had recently reported that the Muslim mosque and their properties were burned down by extremists believed to be Christians and destroyed in the presence of police officers without them stopping the destruction.
The Billiri CAN Chairman, Reverend John Joseph, who also sought the forgiveness of the State Governor, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, for the sorrow and despair brought to Tangale land as a result of the violent protest, said members of the Christian community was sorry for the carnage that affected many Muslims in Billiri.
Rev Joseph was speaking when the State Governor held a stakeholders’ meeting with the Tangale people in Billiri town as part of his peace-building process after last weekend’s mayhem over the issue of a new Mai Tangale, the paramount ruler of the area, after the traditional king makers concluded their election process.
Due to the tense atmosphere and the curfew that was imposed on the Local Government Area, the CAN Chairman sought the permission of the Governor and security heads to allow him lead other Christian clergy to go round all affected areas to seek their forgiveness over what he said was not a planned attack on the Muslims.
He said the delegation would particularly visit the Chief Imam of Billiri, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi, to condole with, sympathize as well as seek the forgiveness of their Muslim brothers.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Local Government, Honourable Margaret Bitrus, who broke in tears during her emotional speech, said the people of Billiri are now regretting their action which has brought untold hardship to the people.
She said the mayhem wouldn’t have happened if the people had remained patient and waited for the Governor’s proclamation of a new Mai Tangale.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya who described the crises as uncalled for, said the people of Tangale had allowed the devil to infiltrate and divide them along religious lines even when the Mai stool has no religious consideration.
He said, the crises that had happened, had broken the long peaceful coexistence that had existed within the Tangale nation for years immemorial despite their religious differences.
He stated, however, that as the Governor and Chief security officer in the State who had sworn to defend all people in the State, he still stands on that vow and would do anything humanly possible to help the Tangale people mend their fences.
He commended the religious leaders for coming together after realising that the attacks were not for the progress of the people and the land and that it is only in a peaceful atmosphere that any meaningful development can take place.
The meeting which also had in attendance the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) zone 3, Ene Okon as well as other security chiefs in the State was also used by the Governor to announce a relaxation of curfew from 24 hours to eight hours.