Akuyam, a local community in Misau Local Government Area of Bauchi State remained a volatile area during electioneering processes with seasonal clashes between supporters of various political parties.
Like other places, the clashes at times, claim lives or lead to the destruction of property while mistrust threatens peaceful coexistence among locals.
On January 29, two people rumoured to be supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost their lives during a rival clash between some supporters of the PDP and All Progressives Congress (APC) in the axis. It was reported that APC gubernatorial candidate, Air Marshal Saddique Baba Abubakar, took his campaign tour to the area when the incident happened.
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Subsequently, the parties traded words, accusing one another of thuggery and electoral violence.
Faruq Mustapha, Director General of the PDP campaign team in the state, alleged that the security personnel attached to the APC gubernatorial candidate were responsible for the killing of deceased persons — one 35-year-old Saleh Garba, and Yakubu Yunusa, 20.
APC also fought back. The Director, Media and Communications for Air Marshal Abubakar, Salisu Barau, alleged that the PDP’s supporters, including the deceased, attacked their campaign team, a claim the opposition refuted.
“Our people were attacked and about 15 to 20 cars were smashed. Some people from our own side got injured,” Barau claimed.
FLASHBACK OF ELECTORAL VIOLENCE IN AKUYAM
Akuyam is prone to electoral upheavals. In the 2019 gubernatorial elections, the tension in the area was apparent between APC, the then ruling party, having Garba Sarki Akuyam, as the Finance Commissioner and the PDP Chairman, Hamza Koshe Akuyam.
On the eve of the election day, Sarki decamped to PDP, leaving a lot of apprehensive party supporters in the APC frustrated.
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Elections were conducted amidst intense rivalry among the two factions but exacerbated when all polling units were submitting their results to the Registration Area Centre (RAC) for collection and final announcement of the ward’s election results.
The ex-commissioner alongside his team later stormed the RAC at Central Primary School Akuyam and insisted that the collation of the results should move to Misau. Their demand led to a fracas as both sides started hurling stones at each other. It later turned violent when security agents fired uncontrollably to disperse them.
AKUYAM NOT ALONE
Other volatile communities in the state are in Alkaleri local government council, the hometown of the incumbent governor, Bala Mohammed.
Alkaleri, a border council with Taraba and Plateau states has recorded several banditry attacks and kidnappings, especially along Gwana District axis where dozens of lives and property have been sacrificed to marauders.
For instance, in August, the terrorists killed a cattle breeder and abducted three others in Duguri District of the local council.
A month before, about three villages in the local government area were raided. During the attack, one person was murdered and three others were kidnapped while another three sustained injuries.
Also in June, five communities were invaded and the terrorists killed four locals, leaving three others injured.
Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, spokesman for Bauchi Police Command could not be reached for comments. But Ibrahim Abubakar Gabdo, spokesman for Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Bauchi Command, said the agency will hold a media briefing on Wednesday where it would unveil the level of its alertness.