The Gombe State gubernorsnip candidate of the Labour Party in the just concluded 2023 elections, Keftin Amuga, on Saturday, has called on the state governor, Muhammadu Yahaya, to release citizens arrested since 2021 in the spirit of the season.
Our correspondent reports that the alleged detainees were arrested by security operatives following the breakdown of law and order, during the Mai Tangle tussle between the presumed winner, Dr Musa Idris Maiyamba, and the current occupier of the seat, Sanusi Maishanu.
Recall that the viral protest in 2021 by Billiri Local Government Area residents over government’s perceived insistence on a defeated candidate led to destruction of lives and property valued in millions of naira.
Amuga in a press statement issued to felicitate with Christians in the yuletide obtained by our correspondent appealed to the governor to release those he described as ‘political prisoners of conscience’ over their involvement in the Mai Tangle debacle.
According to Amuga, their continued incarceration supports arguments that the All Progressives Congress is anti-christianity.
The statement partly read, “I wish to appeal to Gombe State Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya to kindly consider and release the political prisoners of conscience associated with the crisis over the appointment of the Mai Tangle, who have been incarcerated since 2021.
“This heartfelt call is crucial to dispel any notion that the governor’s actions were religiously motivated to persecute the Christian Majority Tangale people. It is worth noting that the presumed candidate who secured the majority of votes, Dr Musa Idris Maiyamba, receiving five out of the total nine votes, and all the detainees are of the Christian faith.
“Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, previously described the APC as a Muslim party with an Islamic agenda.”
Reflecting on such statements, the former gubernatorial candidate called on the governor to heed his plea to put to rest such misconceptions, calling on all elected and appointed politicians, regardless of primordial cleavages and partisanship, to join him in urging the governor, “to release these prisoners of conscience as a mark of respect and tolerance towards Christians during this significant Christmas season. By doing so, it create an atmosphere of cordial religious tolerance and further enable these individuals to celebrate the occasion with their families,” Amuga added.
The Labour Party’s 2023 gubernatorial candidate implored all religious leaders, particularly Christian leaders, to live up to their calling, adding “by following in the footsteps of the Prophets of old by divinely speaking out against what is wrong, particularly the continuous incarceration of these detainees. Their influential voices can play a pivotal role in advancing the cause of righteousness and thereby advocating and establishing Justice for all.
“As we celebrate this joyous season, I wish to encourage all Christians, where possible, to support their prayers with fasting in seeking for the unconditional release of the detainees. Together, let us engage in soul-searching, thought-provoking, and prayerful Christmas and New Year celebrations.”