Authorities and stakeholders in Gombe state are calling for a long lasting solution to the recurring communal clashes in three local Government areas of Billiri, Kaltungo and Shongom.
The Tangale Renaissance Group, is one of the groups calling for urgent steps, such as the setting up of an administrative panel of inquiry.
The group, made up of representatives from all the clashing communities, expressed their views in Gombe, after an emergency meeting, following recent clashes in the Tangale speaking communities.
Ms. Mole Istifanus Benet read the decisions of the meeting.
“ We strongly call upon Gombe State government to as a matter of urgency set up an administrative panel of inquiry to thoroughly investigate the remote and immediate cause/causes of the crisis/clashes with a view to finding a permanent solution,” she said.
The clashes within the Tangale communities, made up of people who share the same language and history, are said to be more than 20 years old.
Each year, at the commencement of the farming season, some cases are recorded, where newly sprouting plants are uprooted in a dispute between farmers.
This year, the incidents happened again for three days, from June 23 to 25, which resulted in the destruction of farms and other property, as well as the killing of a police officer, who was with other police personnel who went out to bring peace to the area.
The General Secretary of the Tangale Renaissance Group, Mr. Ahmed Magem, said it was working on both short and long term plans to bring about the desired lasting solution.
“We have decided to look within ourselves to bring the solution, instead of looking outside. So if we are able to proffer solutions from within, that means it is much, much easier for us, as brothers, as a kit and kin.. Because Billiri, Shongom and Kaltungo are actually one blood, one DNA and one people with same ancestry, history and definitely same destiny. And again, there is so much intermarriage between even the three communities,” Mr. Megan said.
The Police Command in Gombe, on the other hand, said the matter was not a security issue, but an economic one, which was not tackled well at the inception.
Mr. Austin Iwar, the Gombe State Police Commissioner is suggesting that relevant stakeholders should rather focus on the fundamental problems relating to the land issues, which have not been tackled.
Mr. Iwar said the police and the state government were working to ensure that the matter was holistically tackled.
“And that is what the governor wants to do, trying to see how we can identify the true owners of the land. Of course we will also deal with the security implications, the fallout. But principally, deal with the key issue, once and for all.
Once we are able to identify the owners of these pieces of land, because what happens is that, an ordinary person, a poor person that owns a piece of land, is farming and somebody attacks him and then he now falls back on primitive tribal sentiments,” said Mr. Iwar.
One other suggestion from the Gombe Police Command is for the involvement of the National Boundary Commission to resolve the inter-communal rivalry and clashes.