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Maiduguri church violence: gov. Zulum visits pastor whose son was killed

… Says Shooter in Police Net Amid Ongoing Probe
… Pastor says He has Monitored Zulum’s Concern

By Aisha Idowu

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.

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

Zulum had on the day of the incident sent Borno’s deputy governor, Umar Usman Kadafur, to meet victims of the incident. The Governor also invited and met with Christian leaders, led by CAN chairman, Bishop Naga, after which he directed the police to thoroughly investigate the incident and report to him.

Zulum 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. The Governor, 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.

At the pastor’s house alongside the Deputy Governor, Umar Kadafur, yesterday, Zulum said,
“let me start by apologizing 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.

… Says Shooter in Police Net Amid Ongoing Probe

Governor Zulum, during the visit, assured the family of the deceased of his commitment to ensuring justice as soon as the Nigerian Police completes ongoing investigation which he directed 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. 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. 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”.

Zulum was also accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Isa Marte Hussaini, and one of his commissioners from the christian community.

Responding on his family’s behalf, Pastor Bitrus Tumba expressed appreciation to the governor for the visit and said, he considered Ezekiel’s death as an act of God which the family accepts in good faith.

Pastor Bitrus added that everyone dies in a different way, and God has destined Ezekiel to die from gunshot which no one could have stopped.

“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 really appreciate you”, Pastor Bitrus said.

There was no mention of whether the church will be built by the state government as demanded by church members, other Christians and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The demolition of the church woke up issues of marginalisation of indigenous Christians who started voicing out how they are excluded in the affairs of the state.

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