Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has paid condolence visit to the family of Pastor Bitrus Tumba whose son, Ezekiel, died during public reaction to an attempted demolition of a branch of EYN Church in Maiduguri.
Government agency, the Borno Geographic System, had demolished the church on August 5, 2021.
Worshippers at the church were alleged to have attempted to stop the BOGIS task force from demolishing their worship centre, but their action was suppressed by security men in the demolition team who fired live bullets that killed Pastor Tumba’s son, Ezekiel, and injured several others.
The Christian community in the state subsequently took the case up with the governor and staged a protest against what they described as “persecution of their faith.”
Zulum, who had, at the peak of the crisis sent the deputy governor to the family of the deceased to appease them and the entire Christian community in the state, on Tuesday night paid a visit to Pastor Tumba where he was received by the family and some officials of the Christians Association of Nigeria, led by the association’s chairman, Bishop Mohammed Naga.
The governor had apart from sending the deputy governor, Usman Kadafur to the deceased family had also met with Christian leaders in the state, led by CAN chairman, Bishop Naga, after which he directed the police to thoroughly investigate the incident and report to him.
According to a statement on Wednesday by the governor’s spokesman, his boss was scheduled to visit Ezekiel’s family on the day of the incident, but decided against it in order to allow the tense situation to normalise.
Zulum, addressing his hosts, said: “Let me start by apologising for delaying my visit, even though I had sent a delegation to explain this to you.
“We deliberately delayed because of the tension in town. We thought it was not a good time to pay you a visit then.
“I am here to commiserate with your family over the unfortunate death of our brother, Ezekiel Bitrus. My coming here today, weeks after that very unfortunate and painful incident, is proof that we have not forgotten the issue.”
The governor assured the family of the deceased of his commitment to ensuring justice as soon as the Nigerian Police completes ongoing investigation.
He said: “So far, suspects have been quietly arrested and all those involved in that dastardly act are being detained and, God willing, they will face justice as soon as the Police completes investigation and make appropriate recommendations.
“We shall do justice to the matter without fear or favour. We share your pains. No action of government is ever aimed to cause injury, let alone the death of any citizen.”
Zulum was also accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Isa Hussaini, and one of his commissioners from the christian community.
Responding on his family’s behalf, Pastor Tumba expressed appreciation to the governor for the visit and said that he considered Ezekiel’s death as an act of God, which the family accepts in good faith.
▪︎ By The Punch