From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi
The Christian Elders Forum of Northern Nigeria (NOSCEF), in Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro LGAs, staged a peaceful protest and joint prayers in their thousands over the continued detention of their youths since 2011, with an appeal to the state governor to pardon the detained youths.
It was gathered that the youth were arrested since 2011 during the 2011 post-election violence and found not guilty by a Bauchi High Court but not released.
The forum said the detention of the youths without any further concrete evidence even when the Bauchi state High Court had discharged them is a pointer to the division caused among the people in the area.
The peaceful demonstration, which attracted a large turnout, was well attended by thousands of women, youths and children on major streets of the town, with security forces at vigil, to forestall any possible breakdown of law and order.
Speaking to newsmen during the rally, leader of the forum, Pastor Joshua Gida said the peaceful demonstration is timely, to appeal toYuguda to, without further delay, pardon the innocent youths in detention since the 2011 post-election violence.
The clergyman added that government should temper justice with mercy and release the youths, as done last week, when about 148 inmates were pardoned by Yuguda, through his Office of the Prerogative of mercy.
Gida linked the arrest of the youths to political interest and caution Yuguda not to use his office to vindicate the electorates that vote the administration into office saying since March 13, 2013, a Bauchi state High Court had discharged the youths, yet they were still in detention.
According to the man of God, it is pathetic when the families of the detained youths are being subjected to impoverishment while their children are now school dropouts attributed to poverty with the absence of your bread winners.