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‘How driver plowed car into Boys Brigade members, killed 8’

Tragedy struck in Gombe on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, when a vehicle driven by an officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps…

Tragedy struck in Gombe on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, when a vehicle driven by an officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), ASC Adamu Abubakar, rammed into a procession by the Boys Brigade (BB) to celebrate Easter, killing eight of them and injuring 35.

Daily Trust Saturday learnt that the BB children who were from different ECWA churches in Gombe Metropolis were on an Easter rally, which was an annual event, late on the Sunday night when the incident occurred.

ASC Abubakar and his civilian friend, Murtala Hassan, were also killed by a mob. This was said to have doused the tension of the killing of the children and prevented a possible inter-religious crisis in the state.

All the children that died or sustained injuries from the incident are below 18 years. The Gombe State Battalion of the Boys Brigade gave the names of the deceased as Jessy John, Irmiya Amos, Joseph Paul, Sunday Samuel, Ruth Samson, Paulina Yusuf, Keziah Amos and JosephDaniel.

Our correspondent reports that 13 people had fractures; while 22 others with bruises and dislocations are still on admission at the Gombe State Specialist Hospital.

Some of the survivors narrated their experiences to Daily Trust Saturday on their hospital beds.

Japhet Moses (18) Government Science and Technical College (GSTC), Kumo, who sustained a fracture on his leg, said they were on a procession when a vehicle approached them on high speed.

“When he reached us, they were four inside the car, his friend and two ladies. He stopped and started shouting at us, asking why we blocked the road. He exchanged words with our leaders before he was allowed to pass.

“That was the only thing I could remember only to wake up inside a police car with a broken leg. However, six of my friends were not that lucky as they are all dead,” he said.

Godwin Zaman (16) Government Junior Secondary School (GJSS) Bolari East, Gombe, corroborated what his friend said as according to him, “The manner he drove his car towards us and was shouting made some of us angry and we started to shout back at him.”

Zaman said when the driver pulled over, he confronted them that they should not block the road because of a rally.

“We told him that it was an annual event and we always used one lane of the road. Anyway, we allowed him to pass, but he said he would return and deal with us. He dropped off the two women and made a U-turn, switched off his car lights and ran over us, killing eight on the spot and injuring over 30 of us.

“He attempted to escape but the car skidded into a culvert and the angry mob surrounded the car, pulled them out and started beating them with sticks and stones. It was then that he started pleading for his life; that he had a wife and children, but nobody listened to him. They were beaten to death and their corpses were put on top of the car,” he narrated.

Another survivor of the accident, receiving treatment at the Specialist Hospital, Gombe
Another survivor of the accident, receiving treatment at the Specialist Hospital, Gombe

He added that, “I lost four friends and I am yet to recover from the shock of that ugly night. Moreover, I have a fracture on my leg and we will resume school in a few days, I am afraid this will greatly affect my studies.”

Miracle Julius (16) Government Secondary School (GSS), Bogo, has two fractures; on his hand and leg.

He said, “It is a double tragedy for me. I lost a friend and also sustained two fractures. The only thing I can recall is, after the driver left, we continued with our procession only for me to wake up and find myself on a hospital bed.”

Daily Trust Saturday also spoke to some parents of the victims and they narrated how they received the news.

Mr. Danjuma Paul narrated how his son was killed thus, “It was an annual event where our children greeted their friends through a procession. On that faithful day, three of my children participated in the rally, but around midnight one of them returned crying and informed us that there was an accident and that his brother was involved.

“I couldn’t believe what I heard, but I rushed to the hospital where I found his body on the floor, it was then that I believed that my first son who I hoped would assist me in old age was no more,” he said.

Mr. Paul Wasa who works at the Gombe Station of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said he lost a son, Joseph.

“We have already lost our beloved children who were in their prime and unfortunately it was a security personnel that perpetrated the act. Therefore, we call on the government to look into the records of people before they recruit them as security operatives,” Paul added.

Another parent, Mr. Amos Ibrahim, said he lost his last born, 14-year-old Irmiya.

“He was my fifth child and a JSS 3 student at the Army Barracks Secondary School. He was my favourite child and despite his age, he used to advise me on certain issues and always consulted me before he partook in any activity,” he said.

Meanwhile, the headquarters of the NSCDC has sent a delegation to condole and commiserate with the Gombe Christian community, the bereaved families and the government of the state.

The leader of the delegation and Deputy Commandant General in charge of Crisis Management, Adesoji Adeoye, described the incident as unfortunate.

Adeoye said the NSCDC management was shocked and dumfounded when they received the ugly news and that the NSCDC had taken full responsibility of the act as the officer that perpetrated it was their member and could not be denied despite that he was not was not on official duty when he committed the atrocity.

“This unfortunate act was committed by one of our men, now late, even though he was not on official duty, but as a responsible organisation, we take responsibility and commiserate with the Christian community, family of the deceased and the Government of Gombe State.

“I would also like to make it clear that the late officer was not sent to commit the atrocity by any religious group, sect or organisation. He acted alone outside official duty,” he said.

Also, the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Charles Iliya, revealed that the state government would organise a mass and state burial for the eight children.

 

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