A misunderstanding between officials of the Borno State Geographic Information System, BOGIS, and EYN Church in Maiduguri on Thursday turned violent, leading to one loss and five injuries.
BOGIS team lead by the executive secretary, Engr. Adam Bababe, went on a demolishing exercise at one of the EYN churches in Moduganari in Maiduguri when the violence erupted.
The agency is demolishing buildings in unauthorized layouts in the state, for alleged violation of land use laws and the state’s development master plan.
The misunderstanding led to angry youths confronting the agency’s executive secretary, including hurling stones at him.
It turned violent when security operatives in the agency’s team fired a shot that hit and killed one of the young men, identified by PRNigeria as Ezekiel Bitrus, 29. Five other people were reported injured.
Isa Gusau, the governor’s spokesman, issued a statement wherein his principal, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, condemned the incident.
He explained that the misunderstanding and subsequent altercation was not entirely because a worship center was involved, as this is not the first time the agency is enforcing regulations on them.
‘A Collusion (sic) happened on Wednesday when officials of BOGIS, alongside a joint security task force went to (sic) church for regulation of land administration and urban development measures, some of which have affected worship centres (mosques and churches) built without obedience to laid down regulations.
‘…BOGIS has so far demolished dozens of illegally built mosques and churches for ongoing reforms,’ the spokesman said.
Gov. Zulum also called on police to launch an investigation into the incident, while condemning it.
He expressed his sadness over the loss of Ezekiel.
The governor ‘condemned in strong terms, the firing of gun shots by a member of security task force as well as some persons who hurled stones at the task force during an encounter on Thursday. One person died and five persons are currently hospitalized.’
He ‘called the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Borno State, Bishop Mohammed Naga and spoke with him to commiserate with the Christian community and leadership and family of the EYN church in Borno.
‘Zulum also invited the CAN leadership for meeting scheduled for 5:30pm today at the Government House in Maiduguri.
‘The Governor also directed the deputy governor, Umar Kadafur to visit the hospital where five injured persons are receiving treatment, to empathize with them and also takeover the cost of their treatment,’ the statement explained.