POSITION OF GOMBE STATE GOVERNMENT ON THE UNFORTUNATE VIOLENCE THAT FOLLOWED THE VISIT OF FORMER GOVERNOR AND SERVING SENATOR MUHAMMAD DANJUMA GOJE ON FRIDAY, 5TH NOVEMBER 2021
It is a common knowledge that on Friday 5th November 2021, former governor of Gombe State and serving Senator representing Gombe Central at the Senate, Muhammadu Danjuma Goje was in Gombe. Every discerning mind knows that Gombe State has earned a reputation of being a very peaceful and socially cohesive state in the country despite several internally and externally induced pressure to cause disaffection among its peace-loving people.
Before the infamous visit, the Government had received credible security reports that the Senator had engaged in massive mobilisation of hoodlums and thugs across the state under the pretext of welcoming him to the state and accompanying him to a wedding and some planned political events. On arrival, the Senator in company of his sponsored hoodlums and thugs, armed with dangerous weapons, unleashed terror and violence on innocent citizens on sight who were not in support of their sordid acts of destruction of billboards and other properties of government. In the process of the attack, five persons were killed and several others were injured while properties worth millions of naira were destroyed under the instruction of the Senator.
This violent acts of the Goje procession provoked public outrage, making some residents of the communities along the highway heading to the state capital from the airport to rise in defence of their property and government facilities. It is worth noting that, prior to the 5th November, there were series of violent activities orchestrated by the supporters of the senator following his implied approval. The places attacked include Deba town in Yamaltu Deba local government and Kumo in Akko local government. These attacks had made the people of the state to live in perpetual fear. It is on record, that this brigandage started on the 21st July 2021 during the Eid El Kabir celebrations when Senator Goje sponsored his notorious Kalare thugs in the area to invade the peaceful durbar within the vicinity at the Emir’s palace in Kumo causing mayhem. The rampage resulted in the death of 2 persons and several others injured while properties were damaged. In furtherance of their violent activities, on Saturday, 30th October 2021 at the palace of the emir of Deba, Yamaltu-Deba LGA, during a wedding fatiha, senator Goje sponsored armed thugs to unleash terror on innocent people, particularly perceived supporters of government. The incident recorded the destruction of many billboards carrying the governor’s portrait and other landmark achievements of the government.
As a government, we are compelled to let the public have a retrospective look at some of his antecedents when he served as governor of Gombe State. The records speak for themselves! Many individuals, highly respected elders, traditional and religious leaders, business and political class, including the elites who at one time or the other were openly humiliated, harassed, witch-hunted, arrested, imprisoned or even forced to go on exile are alive and in a good position to bear testimony to Goje’s reign of terror between 2003 and 2011. No doubt, it was Danjuma Goje that invented the widely known killing machine – the dreaded Kalare. This heartless group was used to unleash terror on innocent souls during political campaigns and throughout his tenure. Some of his close Kalare thugs are serving life sentences in the prison for the atrocities they committed during his tenure.
True to his usual characteristic of violence, the then governor Goje instructed the invasion of the house of one the founding fathers of Gombe State, Dr Sulaiman Kumo (of blessed memory) who at the time was in company of some respected elders. They were teargassed and harassed by a combined team of Goje’s personal security and kalare thugs. History will never forget when Goje ordered for the arrest of his predecessor in office, Abubakar Habu Hashidu in broad day light. The late Hashidu was arrested on trumped up charges, brought to court and was earmarked for imprisonment. The same Danjuma Goje also deployed his kalare thugs to launch several assassination attempts on the late Muhammadu Ibrahim Hassan (Baraden Gombe). In another condemnable act, Goje detailed his kalare thugs to humiliate and assassinate the then serving minister of special duties, Col. Musa Mohammed (Rtd) at the palace of the emir of Nafada in December 2005.
Further references of Senator Goje’s violent tendencies and flagrant abuse of power also include:
1. “Minister accuses Governor Goje of Plot to kill him” (onlinenigeria.com 2nd January, 2006)
2. “Minister accuses Governor Goje of Plot to kill him” (The Nation, 1st January 2006)
3. “Goje’s ADC halts aircraft take-off to arrest a politician” (see Leadership newspaper of 5th April 2011, page 14)
4. “Goje’s ADC detained aircraft by three hours” (see People’s Daily 5th April 2011, page 3.)
5. “Goje’s name synonymous with Kalare” written by Aliyu Hammagam, Daily Trust Gombe correspondent (26th June 2011, page 14)
6. “Goje Arrives his hated station” by Malam Garba Shehu (People’s Daily, back page comment Wednesday 26th October 2011).
7. Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe accuses his predecessor in office, Danjuma Goje, of sending political thugs, known as “Kalare Boys” to assassinate him when he visited Kashere town on a courtesy call to the federal university there.
No doubt, a leopard cannot change its colour. In the light of Goje’s antecedents and his recent unprovoked violent activities across the state, the government sees him as a potent threat to the security and peaceful coexistence of the state. However, it is quite disheartening that despite the state government’s tolerance in the wake of Goje’s provocations, a few enemies of peace have rather chosen to go about spreading lies and falsehood as regards the 5th November incident in an effort to smear the reputation of the government and score cheap political points.
The government wishes to assure all law-abiding citizens of the state that no stone will be left unturned in an effort to ensure the protection of lives and property of the people of Gombe state within the provisions of the law.
Julius Ishaya Lepes
Commissioner for Information and Culture