JA Control Panle

Peoples Daily

Home News Special Report Emerging security challenges and Gombe state’s development

Emerging security challenges and Gombe state’s development

E-mail Print PDF

By Iliya Habila

Since its creation over 15 years ago, Gombe state has been a peaceful state with a lot of commercial activities undertaken by the residents. Apart from the agricultural activities of the people of the state, many of the residents are also involved in commerce and trade.
Due to its serene atmosphere, Gombe State once stood out as a choice state to visit in the entire North-East geopolitical zone of the country.
However, concerned observers note that negative security situation in neighbouring Borno and Yobe States in the past three years, has had some snowball-effects on living in Gombe.
The observers are quick to point out that the comparative peace and order in Gombe state, perhaps, informed the decision of the Court of Appeal in Jos to temporarily relocate its operations to Gombe in 2011 because of the grave security situation in Jos.
However, the current security situation in Gombe State has now turned out to be a serious source of concern, particularly when a devastating attack was launched on the Divisional Police Headquarters in Gombe on Feb. 24, killing 13 persons, including policemen. Several others were also wounded.
The attack apparently negated the claims of the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Orubebe Ghandi, now an AIG, that Gombe State was largely peaceful, with only little violent crimes.
“Most of the crimes here are those that have to do with land disputes, perennial encroachment on grazing lands, incidences of car thefts, activities of political thugs known as ‘Kalare Boys’,’’ Ghandi once told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) shortly before the attack.
He, nonetheless, conceded that the emerging security challenge related to some threats of attack, allegedly issued by the Boko Haram sect, adding that the threats were giving the police a cause for concern.
Prior to the Feb. 24 attack, some assailants, believed to be members of the Boko Haram group, on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, launched a pre-dawn bomb attack on the 34th Mobile Police Force Base in Kwami, few kilometres away from the Gombe metropolis.
Four persons were killed, while about 15 vehicles were destroyed in the attack which razed a building in the police compound.
Observers note that the bombing incident turned out to be a precursor of similar attacks, as peace has since remained elusive in Gombe State, which was once reputed for its remarkable tranquility.
In December 2011, some faceless assailants attacked Tumfure Resort, a hotel the suburb of Gombe, with guns and explosives and wounded 15 persons.
Shortly after the incident, another group of attackers stormed Jubilee Hotel in the Sabon Layi neighbourhood of Gombe city and shot two men to death.
Some days after, some gunmen also shot two persons in Horizontal Hotel in the BCG area of the city.
However, one chilling turning point in the growing violence was last year’s shooting of worshippers at Deeper Life Bible Church, Gombe, in which seven persons, including the pastor’s wife, were slain.
Besides, a pastor of the Baptist Church in Bajoga, Funakaye Local Government Area of the state, was also murdered in cold blood by some unknown assassins.
All the same, the Feb. 24 attack on the Divisional Police Headquarters in Gombe was adjudged by observers to be the most devastating one, sending chills down the spines of the residents and compelling the government to impose a curfew on the city that fateful night.
In a broadcast to the people of the state, Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo, condemned the attack in strong terms and described it as strange in the state.
“It was a strange incident, we have never expected this kind of incident in Gombe State but it has happened. But as believers, we know things happen and they happen, as ordained by God,’’ the governor said, as he tried to calm the people’s nerves.
“The situation is now under control; we have deployed more men and resources to restore normalcy throughout the state,’’ he added.
To confront the growing problem of insecurity in the state, Dankwambo set up a 13-member committee to investigate the causes of the attack and proffer recommendations.
Inaugurating the committee, chaired by Alhaji Usman Faruk, the former governor of the defunct North-Western State, Dankwambo assured the people of his government’s readiness to safeguard their security.
“Although the nation is grappling with various forms of security challenges, especially in the North-East region, it is the responsibility of governments, at all levels, to ensure the security of lives and property of the citizens.
“We shall certainly, not shy away from this responsibility,’’ he stressed.
However, observers maintain that the growing menace of insecurity in Gombe state will definitely affect the hitherto vibrant commercial and socio-economic activities in the state.
For instance, Dr Saleh Omar of the Gombe state University stressed that the current security situation in the state would consequently mar its robust socio-economic activities, akin to what happened to neighbouring states that had witnessed similar challenges.
Omar, who commended the government’s efforts to tackle the problem, nonetheless, called for the scrutiny of all the issues behind the crisis in a holistic and pragmatic way.
He opined that the underlying factors could include hunger, poverty, unemployment and inequality; as such issues were usually the raison d’être behind people’s violent acts.
“Commercial activities will definitely be affected and this will ultimately affect the socio-economic development of the state and the country at large,’’ he said.
Sharing similar sentiments, Dr Esrom Jokthan, the Dean of Faculty of Education of Gombe state University, stressed that the current insecurity problems in the state, which led to the imposition of a curfew, had been affecting the socio-economic life of the people, particularly those on the university’s campus.
He stressed that the crisis had seriously affected the students and lecturers, who have had to forgo certain lectures because of the security situation, while businessmen and women were also seriously affected by the restrictions slammed on the people’s movement.
Alhaji Haruna Yakubu, the Emir of Pindiga, who stressed the need to promote peaceful coexistence among adherents of different faiths, implored the people to eschew any evil acts, while following the teachings of their religions.
The emir, who noted that no religion preached violence, admonished the people to always ensure peace and harmony within the society, so as to enable them to carry out their socio-economic activities without any constraints.
Yakubu particularly noted that revenue generation activities and business in the state could never thrive under a chaotic atmosphere, fuelled by a curfew, thereby causing negative implications for the state’s economy.
Rev. Abare Kalla, the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Gombe state, also bemoaned the situation, in which the tranquil nature of the state had been marred by the violent attacks.
He, however, called on Muslims and Christians to promote a peaceful coexistence, while praying for God’s intervention and protection.
“Muslim and Christian clerics should emphasise peaceful coexistence because the two religions underscore it; so, we need to abide by the fundamental bases on which our faiths are found,’’ he said.
Kalla stressed that even though the curfew imposed on the Gombe metropolis had been having some negative effects on the state’s development, the measure was, nonetheless, imperative in efforts to ensure peace and protect the people’s lives and property.
On his part, Alhaji Sale Danburam, the Secretary-General of the Jama’atul Nasirl Islam (JNI), urged Muslims and Christians to fervently pray for God’s intervention, stressing that God’s protection was absolutely indispensable.
He also implored the leaders to be just in the treatment of the people, saying: “Whatever we do, we ought to do it right; we should always treat people fairly, irrespective of their religious, ethnic or political inclinations.’’
Danburam, nonetheless, urged the authorities to punish those fomenting trouble and reward the good citizens.
A political chieftain, Alhaji Baba Magayaki, advised the people of the state to remain united, while rejecting efforts by unscrupulous elements to set them against each other.
However, the security situation and the curfew in Gombe state have been taking their toll on business transactions in the state, and its capital in particular.
Mr Friday Njoku, a building materials dealer in the New Market, Gombe, lamented that he was unable to get supplies for days as a result of the menacing problem of insecurity in the state.
He noted that the curfew slammed on the Gombe metropolis had seriously affected many businesses, calling on the government to find lasting solutions to the crisis.
Malam Haruna Tahir, a welder, recalled that he lost a N250,000-job at the peak of the crisis period “because my customers, who were in a hurry to get the job, took the job to another place’’.
Students are not left of the scenario, as they also have some tales to tell.
Mr Meshach Malgwi, a 300-Level student of Gombe state University, said that the insecurity problems of the state had negatively affected the university’s lectures’ schedule and the students’ study periods.
“The curfew in Gombe had made many students to miss their lectures,’’ he said, adding that it had also affected virtually all the peoples’ socio-economic spheres of life.
Also speaking, Miss Blessing Chidi-Ebere, a student of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Gombe, said that on many occasions, the students had to trek home after lectures since commercial motorcyclists usually rushed home nowadays to beat the curfew.
Analysts agree that the breakdown of peace and security in Gombe has significantly affected socio-economic activities in the state and they call on all the stakeholders to make concerted efforts to restore peace.
They also advise the federal and state governments to initiate more security measures to tackle the growing menace of violence across Gombe state, while devising plausible strategies to promote the state’s peace and development.
(NAN Features)

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger



MUSINGS  ‘To Let’ sign up at SEC

FROM THE LIVE STAGE  In a season of drought

Find & Follows Us