Community Leaders in Billiri Local Government Area of Gombe State have heaped blames on successive and current State Governments for the age long lingering crisis between the Tangale speaking tribes of Billiri and Shongom which recently claimed the life of a Police Officer.
Gombe communal clash: Community leaders blame government; Says: Shongom people killed policeman
Sunday Zailani, a former Deputy Chairman in Billiri LGA, while corroborating a point raised by the Chairman of the Tangale Community Development Association, (TCDA) Kastner Elsa Teleh, during a press conference said “the State Government is interested in this crisis within us the Tangale people. They want to see us always fighting and killing ourselves for their political gain”.
Addressing the press, the President of TCDA, Kastner Elsa Teleh said, all that the Billiri people want is that Government should “ensure that the traditional administrative boundary lines are identified and codified”. He added that efforts must be made to see that “Proper mechanisms are set to ensure that the boundary lines are not in any way breached,” noting that “these calls were made severally in the past and till this day.”
He said the crisis between Tangale Chiefdom and Shongom in Kaltungo Chiefdom date as far back as 1945. According to him, “One thing that is clear about the crisis is that it is on the identification of our traditional boundary line between Kaltungo Chiefdom and Tangale Chiefdom. Apart from Kaltungo Chiefdom, we share boundary lines with Akko LGA in Gombe State and Alkaleri LGA in Bauchi state. There has never been crisis between us.”
He said the worst among the several crises was when recently security men were deployed to quell the crisis and the Shongom speaking people of Kaltungo and Shongom LGA in an attempt to resist the law enforcement agencies, shot a mobile Police officer who eventually died.
The TCDA President wondered who is responsible for the traditional boundary line identification and demarcation. “Does it mean that when Tangale Chiefdom was created, their domain of administration was not delineated? Or when Kaltungo Chiefdom, (Kaltungo and Shongom LGA’s) were created, their boundary was not delineated?” stressing that if these answers are in the affirmative, then “Who is responsible for ensuring that these boundary lines are not breached?”
Blaming Government for the continuous crises, the TCDA President said “If it is in the negative, when is the body responsible for delineating the boundary lines going to act to avoid this avoidable persistent crises?”
He commended the Mai Tangle, Dr. Abdu Buba Maisheru II, as well as the Chairman of Billiri Local Government Area for their clarion calls on their subjects to be calm during the crisis and not to retaliate despite that the attackers “are living in our soil”.