On Thursday, residents, including women and youths, took to the streets in Tafawa Balewa, Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, Bauchi State, to protest the planned 21st memorial anniversary of the late Sayawa nation leader and crusader, Baba Peter Gonto.
Despite the presence of security personnel deployed in the town to prevent a breakdown in law and order, the people protested the anniversary, singing various songs to express their displeasure with the event scheduled for tomorrow, December 31.
The protesters, it was learned, are opposed to the planned event because they believe it will divide rather than unite the Sayawa people, which they claim is not what the late Gonto stood for throughout his life.
According to an unconfirmed report, the peaceful protest devolved into violence after some protesters were allegedly attacked, resulting in the deaths of three people and many injuries in the ensuing melee.
Report has it that the member representing Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had written a letter to the Inspector-General of Police, seeking the intervention of the police against the memorial.
Dogara, who is the immediate past Speaker of the House, claimed security concerns for being against holding the event, which he stated could lead to crisis in the area.
Some groups among the Sayawa people, however, debunked the former speaker’s claim, saying that the late Gonto was in the forefront of emancipation of Zaar land from every form of slavery and stood for the unity of Sayawa people.
Efforts made to get the reaction of the Bauchi State Police Command as of the time of filing this report were unsuccessful.