Zulum Visits Pastor Whose Son was Killed in Church Demolition Saga

Michael Olugbode

The Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, has visited the family of Pastor Bitrus Tumba whose son died in reaction to an attempted demolition of a branch of EYN Church in Maiduguri on August 5, 2021, by the Borno Geographic System (BOGIS).

Worshippers at the church were alleged to have attempted to stop a task force by BOGIS from demolishing their worship centre but their action was suppressed by security men in the demolition team who shot bullets that killed the pastor’s son and injured several others.

The Christian community in the state subsequently took the case up with the governor and staged protest against what they alleged was a persecution of their faith.

Zulum, who had earlier sent his deputy governor to the family of the deceased, in order to appease the family and the entire Christian community in the state and douse the tension, personally on Tuesday night paid a visit to Pastor Tumba where he was received by the family and some officials of Christians Association of Nigeria, CAN, led by the association’s chairman, Bishop Mohammed Naga.

The governor had apart from sending the Borno State Deputy Governor, Mr. Usman Kadafur, to the deceased family had also met with Christian leaders in the state and directed the police to thoroughly investigate the incident and report to him.

Zulum addressed his host and said: “Let me start by apologising for delaying my visit even though I had sent a delegation to explain this to you. We deliberately delayed because of the tension in town. We thought it was not a good time to pay you a visit then. I am here to commiserate with your family over the unfortunate death of our brother, Ezekiel Bitrus.

My coming here today, weeks after that very unfortunate and painful incident, is proof that we have not forgotten the issue.”

The governor assured the family of the deceased of his commitment to ensuring justice as soon as the Nigerian Police completes ongoing investigation, which he directed must be thorough.

He said: “So far, suspects have been quietly arrested and all those involved in that dastardly act are being detained and God willing, they will face justice, as soon as the police complete investigation and make appropriate recommendations. We shall do justice to the matter without fear or favour. We share your pains. No exercise of government is ever aimed to cause injury let alone the death of any citizen.

“Every person in Borno has equal rights and we have a duty to protect the rights of all persons. We are pained by what happened and we condole with you and your family.

“Although, I had sent people to you, I was morally and officially duty bound to visit your family. Please accept our deepest condolences.”

Zulum was also accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Professor Isa Hussaini, and one of his commissioners from the Christian community.

Responding on his family’s behalf, Tumba expressed appreciation to the governor for the visit and said, he considered Ezekiel’s death as an act of God which the family accepts in good faith.

He added that everyone dies in a different way, and God has destined Ezekiel to die from gunshot, which no one could have stopped.

“Whatever we do, we cannot bring the dead back to life; as true Christians we have accepted it in good faith. Your Excellency we express our appreciation to you for the visit, I have followed all your efforts on the death of our son, and they show your concern and the fact that you did not forget us, we really appreciate you,” Bitrus said.

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