Borno gov’ visits pastor whose son was killed during church demolition violence

Governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum, has today paid a sympathy visit to the family of a Maiduguri-based pastor whose son was shot dead during violence that trailed the demolition of a church by government officials.

The Humanitarian Times had reported how church members went wild in protest as the officials of the Borno Geographic Information System moved to bring down the church for alleged violation of land administration laws.

The Christian Associationof Nigeria, (CAN) had protested the incident which it said was one too many.

Personnel of the state-owned Borno Youth Empowerment Scheme (aka Civilian-JTF) threw caution to the wind and opened fire on protesters in defence of the BOGIS personnel who were being pelted with stones.

The condemnable action of the C-JTF personnel led to the death of Ezekiel Tumba, the son of Pastor Bitrus Tumba.

Leading a full complement of the Borno state executive council to condole the bereaved family Mr Zulum said he chose to visit the family nearly four weeks after the incident occurred to avoid heating the then already tensed situation.

Borno Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, on Tuesday night visited Pastor Bitrus Tumba whose son died when violence broke out between a demolition task force of Borno Geographic Systems, BOGIS, and worshipers at a branch of EYN church in Maiduguri on August 5, 2021.

At the Tumba’s governor was received by the family and some officials of the Christians Association of Nigeria, CAN led by the association’s chairman, Bishop Mohammed Naga.

The Humanitarian Times recalls that Governor Zulum had earlier, on the day of the incident, sent deputy governor, Umar Kadafur, to condole the family victims over the incident.

It was also reported that the governor had met CAN officials led by their chairman, Bishop Naga. During the closed-door meeting, the governor directed the police “to thoroughly investigate the incident” and report to him.

Isa Gusau, the spokesman of Governor Zulum had explained to The Humanitarian Times that his boss “was scheduled to visit Ezekiel’s family on the day of the incident, but had to abort to allow the tensed situation to douse down.

Mr and Mrs Tumba

Governor Zulum who was accompanied by Deputy Governor, his Chief of Staff, Prof. Isa Marte, and one of his commissioners from the Christian community among other top functionaries of government, started by “apologizing” for delaying his visit even as he reminded them that he had “sent a delegation to explain that to the family.

“We deliberately delayed because of the tension in town,” he said.

“We thought it was not a good time to visit you 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.

Shooter Arrested in Police Custody

Having condoled the family, Mr Zulum also took time to assure the family of his obligation to ensure justice as soon as the Nigerian Police concludes investigation which he insisted “must be thorough”.

“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,” the governor assured.

“We shall do justice to the matter without fear or favour. We share your pains. No exercise of government is ever aimed to cause injury let alone the death of any citizen.

Late Exekiel Tumba

“Every person in Borno has equal rights and we have a duty to protect the rights of all persons, top of which is the security of lives. We are pained by what happened and we condole you and your family.

“Although, I had sent people to you, I was morally and officially duty bound to visit your family. Please accept our deepest condolences”.

Bereaved family Appreciates concerns

Pastor Tumba who spoke on behalf of the family conveyed their gratitude to the governor for the visit.

“Whatever we do, we cannot bring the dead back to life; as true Christians we have accepted it in good faith.

“Your Excellency we express our appreciation to you for the visit, I have followed all your efforts on the death of our son, and they show your concern and the fact that you did not forget us, we appreciate you”, Pastor Bitrus said.

“The Governor had, instead, sent a private delegation to visit the family on his behalf while he worked behind the scene to calm down situations between religious leaders to prevent potential crisis between youths from different faiths.”

Late Ezekiel Tumba was 29 years old when he met his sudden death.

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