The Bauchi State Government has filed criminal charges against a former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and 28 others after the violence that erupted in both Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa local government areas of the state as a result of the 21st memorial anniversary of a Sayawa nation leader and crusader, Baba Peter Gonto.

Dogara and the others are being dragged before the Bauchi State High Court by the government on 11-count charges bordering on conspiracy, disturbing public peace, mischief by fire and culpable homicide.

Among the charges, sighted by journalists in Bauchi on Friday, the state government alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves to cause bodily harm to people in the area in order to frustrate the progress of the memorial anniversary.

Brought before the court “Pursuant to Sections 98 (1) & (2), 100 (b) and 103 (b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Bauchi State, 2018, among others, the prosecution listed Right Hon Yakubu Dogara; Air Commodore Ishaku Komo (rtd); Rev. Markus Musa; Peter Emmanuel; Ga’Allah Daniel; Iliya Emmanuel as defendants in the case.

Some of the charges read: “That you Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara — on or about the 29th, 30 and/or 31st day of December 2021 agreed to do or cause to be done an illegal act to wit: you conspired amongst yourselves and others at large to incite the youths of Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro towns to disturb public peace by burning people’s houses, blocking access roads, physically attacking invited guests and other participants attending the 21 year memorial anniversary and book launch of late Baba Peter Gonto at Bogoro town and destroy and burn all facilities provided for the occasion, thereby committed offence contrary to Section 96 and punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Law of Bauchi State.

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“On or about the 29th, 30th and/or 31st day of December 2021 agreed to do or cause to be done an illegal act to wit: you conspired amongst yourselves and others at large to commit the offence mischief by fire by burning people’s houses in Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro To during the 21″year memorial anniversary and book launch of late Baba Peter Gonto at Bogoro town and to destroy and burn all facilities provided for the occasion, thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 96 and punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Law of Bauchi State.

“On or about the 29th,30th and/or 31st day of December 2021 agreed to do or cause to be done an illegal act to wit: you conspired amongst yourselves and others at large to commit the offence of culpable homicide during the 21 year memorial anniversary and book launch of late Baba Peter Gonto at Bogoro town and that you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 96 punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Law of Bauchi State.”

DAILY POST reports that the 21st memorial of the late Gonto was trailed by controversies days ahead of the anniversary, which eventually culminated in protests and violence leading to the destruction of properties, including burning of houses of some individuals, worth millions of Naira with an unconfirmed report claiming that three persons were killed while many sustained varying degrees of injuries.

Dogara, who represents Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency in the House of Representatives, was said to have written a letter to the Director-General of Department Security Services (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police, warning of an impending security threat if the anniversary was allowed to hold.

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Some youth groups, including Concerned Nwari Youths Forum, however, refuted the former speaker’s claim, saying that instead of dividing the Sayawa people as Dogara alleged, the anniversary was meant to unite the people, being what the late Gonto stood for in his lifetime.

Some youth and women in Tafawa Balewa town also protested against the holding of the memorial, claiming that some prominent Zaar sons and daughters were deliberately not invited to the programme by organisers.

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