Following the violence that erupted in both Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa local government areas of the state as a result of the 21st memorial anniversary of a Sayawa nation leader and crusader, Baba Peter Gonto, the Bauchi State Government has filed criminal charges against him and 28 others.
The government has charged Dogara and the others with 11 counts of conspiracy, disturbing public peace, mischief by fire, and culpable homicide in the Bauchi State High Court.
According to the charges, which were seen by journalists in Bauchi on Friday, the defendants conspired among themselves to cause bodily harm to people in the area in order to sabotage the memorial anniversary’s progress.
The prosecution named Right Hon Yakubu Dogara, Air Commodore Ishaku Komo (rtd), Rev. Markus Musa, Peter Emmanuel, Ga’Allah Daniel, and Iliya Emmanuel as defendants in the case, which was brought before the court “Pursuant to Sections 98 (1) & (2), 100 (b), and 103 (b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Bauchi State, 2018, among others.”
“That you, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara — on or about the 29th, 30th, and/or 31st day of December 2021, agreed to do or cause to be done an illegal act, to wit: you conspired amongst yourselves and others at large to incite the youths of Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro towns to disturb public peace by burning people’s houses, blocking access roads, physically attacking invited guests and other participants attending the 21 year memorial anniversary and book
“You conspired amongst yourselves and others at large on or about the 29th, 30th, and/or 31st day of December 2021 to do or cause to be done an illegal act, to wit: you conspired amongst yourselves and others at large to commit the offence of mischief by fire by burning people’s houses in Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro To during the 21′′year memorial anniversary and book launch of late Baba Peter Gonto at Bogoro town
“On or about the 29th, 30th, and/or 31st day of December 2021, you conspired amongst yourselves and others at large to commit the offence of culpable homicide during the 21 year memorial anniversary and book launch of late Baba Peter Gonto at Bogoro town, and that you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 96 punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Law of Bauchi State.”
According to reports, the late Gonto’s 21st memorial was marred by controversies days before the anniversary, culminating in protests and violence that resulted in the destruction of properties worth millions of Naira, including the burning of some individuals’ homes, with an unconfirmed report claiming that three people were killed and many others suffered varying degrees of injuries.
Dogara, who is a member of the House of Representatives and represents the Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency, is said to have written a letter to the Director-General of the Department Security Services (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police, warning of a potential security threat if the anniversary is allowed to take place.
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However, some youth groups, such as the Concerned Nwari Youths Forum, disputed Dogara’s claim, claiming that rather than dividing the Sayawa people, the anniversary was meant to unite them, as the late Gonto stood for during his lifetime.
Some youth and women in Tafawa Balewa town also objected to the memorial’s holding, claiming that the organizers purposefully excluded some prominent Zaar sons and daughters from the event.