Chima Azubuike, Gombe
Pandemonium broke out on Monday at the Sabonline area, Gombe, after an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Adamu Abdullahi, and a yet-to-be-identified man were reportedly lynched for the killing of nine Boys’ Brigade members.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the Boys’ Brigade members were drawn from the St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Madaki, and two parishes of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Bamusa and Barunde, Gombe State.
The Boys’ Brigade members were said to be having an Easter procession when the incident happened around 1am.
Our correspondent gathered that the NSCDC official had wanted to drive through the procession, but was prevented by the brigade, which had blocked a lane on the road.
After some altercation, Abdullahi was said to have had his way.
The official, who was said to be unhappy with the initial action of the group, reportedly drove to his house and dropped off some occupants in his car.
He was alleged to have returned to the procession in his car.
Abdullahi allegedly switched off the headlamps of the vehicle and rammed into the group, killing nine people on the spot.
About 30 others were said to have sustained varying degrees of injury.
A member of the ECWA Boys’ Brigade, Michael Adeniran, said Abdullahi, a corps assistant, drove an official car of the NSCDC.
He said, “The incident happened around 1am. A salon car with the logo of civil defence was prevented from passing the road because of our procession.
“However, when our pastor prevailed on us, we allowed him to pass. After dropping off his girlfriends in his house, he drove back with his car and cleared our members. There was one other person with him in the car.”
Another eyewitness, Meshach Michael, said a mob pounced on the two men and beat them to death.
He said, “Immediately we saw what happened, we held the driver and the man with him and beat them up in anger. We wanted to burn the car, but we were stopped.”
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The second occupant of the car was reported to be a policeman.
Our correspondent visited some of the survivors at the male surgical ward of the state specialist hospital.
One of them, who identified himself only as Godwin, wondered why the NSCDC official took the decision.
“This is not the first time that we would embark on this procession at the wee hours of the night,” he said.
Another survivor, Zakaria Ibrahim, said the action was premeditated.
The Gombe State Commissioner of Health, Dr Kennedy Ishaya, described the incident as unfortunate.
“The survivors have different degrees of injury; some have head injuries, and others lacerations,” he added.
The ECWA Secretary, Elias Tstakis, said the church was mourning the loss of its members.
“We discovered that the two men were deployed in the government house, but they chose to kill innocent teenagers,” he said.
The spokesperson for the NSCDC, Gombe command, ASC Sajid Saad, declined comment.
“I am on the road now; I can’t talk. If you are in Gombe, come to my office,” he said.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Mary Malum, said 10 people died.
She said, “There were 10 deaths and 30 injured victims are receiving treatment at the state specialist hospital and other private health institutions.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Bello Makwashi, who was said to have visited the scene of the incident, denied that the second occupant of the car was a policeman.
The Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, who confirmed 11 deaths in a statement on Monday, said the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, had ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.
He, however, said the accident was caused by brake failure, adding that the driver was on Gadan Malale Road and heading for the Central Roundabout in the area when tragedy struck.