The Board of Trustees and Board of Elders of Tangale Community Development Association in Gombe state have accused the state government of using the compensation of victims of the Billiri crisis to siphon government resources.
The elders made the allegation at a joint press conference at the NUJ Secretariat in Bauchi, explaining that they left Gombe because “each time we have a press conference, the government will go and muzzle the press and it won’t be reported.”
A member of the Board of Trustees, who addressed the press, Daniel Maddo, said that video evidence presented by the State/Muslim Counsel to the Commission of Enquiry showed that most of the non-indigenes with shops in the market had packed their goods from the stalls before they were burnt.
He said: “The forum also observed with dismay that the government paid compensation to the tune of N500 million in respect of properties lost to owners of stalls burnt during the mayhem. Equally disturbing is the over bloated compensation that was paid which was not commensurate with the losses incurred.”
According to Maddo, one of such spurious compensations was a tomato seller who was given N500,000 as compensation for the goods she lost, saying that was too outrageous.
He said further: “Indeed, we learned that some honest individuals among the business community were said to have rejected the over bloated compensation. In short, the exercise was intended to plunder the resources of Billiri LGA.”
Maddo further insisted that most disturbing and unheard of in governance, was the resolve by the Gombe State Government that “80% of the bill for this compensation would be borne by Billiri Local Government. In effect, the government of Gombe State had found the people of Billiri Local Government guilty before receiving the report of its own Commission of Enquiry and given them collective punishment.”
He also lamented that their people were been denied positions they were entitled to by the Inuwa Yahaya-led administration in the state, noting that they have already filed a case in Court.
He pointed the case of Justice Beatrice Iliya, who was denied the position of Chief Judge of the state after she had acted as the acting Chief Judge of the state.