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‘Our burnt houses, looted property, sacrifice for democracy’


One of the burnt houses

One of the burnt houses

“OUR burnt houses and property looted by hoodlums during the governorship and State House of Assembly elections were, indeed, our sacrifice for democracy.”

These were the words of the Secretary to the Taraba State Government (SSG), Gebon T. Kataps, whose house and that of others in Gembu, the administrative headquarters of Sardauna Local Council, were razed during an attempt to prevent hoodlums from the opposition political party from altering election results.

The SSG, who yesterday briefed the executive members of the correspondent chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on how the hoodlums went wild following his refusal to allow them to manhandle an electoral officer, said, “this was a great sacrifice for democracy.”

The actions caused the hoodlums to burn his house, that of the former ambassador to Cameroun Republic, Emmanuel Q.Njiwah and that of the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abel Peter Diah.

According to him, this was aimed at “rubbishing both the governorship and State House of Assembly results from our constituency.”

According to him: “Before we left Jalingo to Gembu on the eve of the governorship election, we got a security information that our opponents had an original result sheet of the governorship election, which they wanted to fill and present to INEC as the outcome of the governorship election from Sadauna.”

“We went to Sadauna and we were very vigilant because while we were in Gembu, we also gathered that the plan was to use violence to achieve the substitution of the authentic result for the fake one.”

Appreciating God for sparing his life and those whose houses were also razed, he expressed dismay at the way and manner persons taking refuge in Internally-Displaced Persons (IDP) camps were compelled to participate in the destruction exercise.

According to him: “While we were trying our best to call our boys to order to prevent the violence, we also discovered that a large number of youths who were taking refuge in Gembu, as a result of insurgency, were recruited by those desperate politicians to forment trouble.”

Wondering why a few overzealous politicians were bent on taking over the state “ even when they are not accepted by the people” the SSG noted: “My joy today is that God gave me the strength to withstand the pressure because if I had allowed the substitution of the authentic result with the fake one as planned, the other party would have won.”

“My joy is I was able to protect democracy, if three of these houses were to be destroyed and I should protect the result of the electorate, so be it,” he declared.

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