No fewer than eleven persons including a Police personnel and a Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officer were confirmed dead after a car rammed into a procession of Christian youths (mostly Boys Brigade members) who were on an Easter rally Sunday night in Gombe town.
Our Correspondent gathered early Monday morning that the youths were on their usual Easter rally in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ when the unidentified NSCDC officer and his Police friend came across them at Alheri Junction, Biu Road, Gombe.
Chairman of the Gombe State Battalion Brigade of the Boys Brigade (BB), Isaac Kwadang told reporters that he received information about the incident around 11:30pm Sunday night.
According to him, the Civil Defense officer, though not on official duty, met the procession while passing and after exchanging words with the youths, he passed them, turned around, put off his car’s full light and ran into them from behind, killing eight on the spot and wounding many.
Kwadang stated further that the youths chased the security officers, caught and mobbed them to death. He said that though it has not been easy calming the youths down, they are still prevailing on them against further confrontation.
The Chief Medical Director of the Gombe State Specialist Hospital, Dr. Shuaibu Muazu confirmed that some dead bodies from the incident have been deposited in the hospital.
The Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Mr. Godwin Omuko, confirmed the incident to newsmen on phone and said his men were among those that brought the dead bodies to the hospital.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor of Gombe State and the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), North East Chapter on Monday appealed on the Christian Community to remain calm.
The appeal followed the death of the youths who were hit by the car during their procession on Sunday night within Gombe metropolis ahead of the Easter Monday celebrations.
NAN reports that the car allegedly ran into the group of Boys’ Brigade from ECWA Church from Bamusa, Barunde and from St Peter’s Anglican Church,Madaki around 11.30 p.m. on Sunday night while they were in a procession.
They were on a procession to Sabon-Layi Area of Gombe Metropolis where they were expected to celebrate Easter on Monday.
The dead and injured were said to have been rushed to the Gombe State Specialist Hospital as soon as the incident happened.
Rev. Abare Kala, the North East CAN Chairman made the appeal for calm in an interview with newsmen in Gombe on Monday.
Kala said that the association would follow due process to seek redress over the situation.
Kala said that the Christian body was making efforts that would ensure that the situation was properly managed.
“We call on the Christian Community in Gombe to take the situation in good faith, be calm and also follow the right channels in seeking redress on the issue on ground.
“Two wrongs cannot make a right. So, I appeal for caution in the process of addressing the issue. If we apply the wrong approach, it will lead to another issue.
“For now, we are trying to calm the situation by appealing to Christians to see reasons for calm and allow the authorities concerned to take necessary measures.
“We have informed the security agencies concerned about the situation on ground.
“We are aware of the pain this sad event had caused, but let’s be calm and allow the leadership to handle the matter,” he said.
The Gombe State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer( PRO) , Mary Malum, who confirmed the accident, said that 10 persons died from it.
Malum added that 30 others were being treated for various injuries they sustained from the mishap.
Malum said that eight out of the 10 dead persons were members of the Gombe State Boys’ Brigade while the other two were the driver of the car and his friend.
She said that the police had started its investigation on the matter.
Michael Achika, the Captain of the ECWA Church’s Boys’ Brigade from Bogo (Gombe State), appealed to the government to offset the bills that would be incurred by those undergoing treatment.
Achika also urged the government to compensate the families of the deceased.
He commended the staff of the Gombe State Specialist Hospital for quickly attending to the injured when they were taken there.
He said that the victims were responding to treatment.