THERE has been no let up in the mayhem sweeping across some states in the North, as no fewer than 43 people have been killed in the heat of the protests that greeted the result of the presidential election.
Four serving corps members, a divisional crime officer (DCO), a policewoman and 10 others have been confirmed killed in Bauchi State, while at least three people, including a nine-year-old boy, were shot dead in a protest at Mutum Biyu, headquarters of Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State, on Sunday.
In Niger State, at least five people are lying critically ill in Bida town, as a result of injuries sustained from gunshots from members of the special task force deployed to maintain law and order in the town.
Over 4,500 people have been displaced, following the mayhem unleashed on residents of Bauchi by supporters of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). The state secretary of the Nigerian Red Cross, Adamu Abubakar, confirmed the figures.
Thousands of youths, who went on the rampage in Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State, on Monday night, destroyed dozens of shops and vandalised three churches. They also barricaded the major roads and made bonfires to disrupt vehicular movement, chanting “Ba muso” (we don’t like the president).
Speaking to newsmen on Tuesday, the Bauchi State Police Commissioner, Amama John Abakasanga, who confirmed the arrest of over 200 suspects, said one of the police formations in the state was also burnt by hoodlums and supporters of the CPC, saying investigations into the mayhem had commenced.
Also, four INEC offices were burnt down in Bauchi, Dambam, Misau and Jama’are local government areas, while 500 laptops used for the voter registration exercise were looted by the irate youth, who unleashed violence on the INEC offices as confirmed by the Bauchi State REC, Iliya Audu, who conducted journalists round the burnt offices.
Audu, who said that he was taking stock to ascertain the level of destruction at the offices assured that it would not in any way disrupt the conduct of the governorship and state house of assembly elections scheduled to be held on Tuesday next week, calling on all INEC staff in the affected areas not to panic, as adequate security arrangements had been made for their lives.
Meanwhile, at least three people, including a nine-year-old boy, were shot dead by the police during a protest at Mutum-Biyu, headquarters of Gassol Local Government Council of Taraba State last Sunday.
Also in Ardo-Kola Local Government Area of Taraba State, four cars were completely burnt, following the alleged attempt by one of the political parties to tamper with the results of the presidential election last Saturday.
Those killed were youths that took to the streets in the town over the alleged manipulation of the presidential election results. A pregnant woman also lost her life during the crisis.
The secretariat of the PDP in Gassol Local Government Area was not left out as the entire building was burnt down by protesters and that prevented traffic flow for several hours while many residents deserted the streets.
Following the protest, tension escalated in the state capital, forcing economic and commercial activities, including government offices and the central market, to close down immediately, as people took to their heels to safety.
When contacted, the state police commissioner, Alhaji Aliyu Musa, said two people were killed at Mutum Biyu while 42 were arrested by the police.
However, when the Nigerian Tribune visited various motor parks in the city on Tuesday morning, many people were seen trying to flee the state. But normalcy had partially been restored in the state at the time of filing this report.
In Katsina State, the police confirmed that four people were burnt alive and 45 inmates were released from the Federal Prisons in Funtua.
Similarly, the prisons official vehicles, household property, cars and churches were destroyed in the violence that ravaged some local council areas of the state.
Although the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, had imposed a curfew between 9.00 p.m and 7.00 a.m on Monday, several churches and homes were burnt during the night, as rampaging arsonists moved around different towns in the state.
A security source told the Nigerian Tribune that the situation could have been worse if the governor had not imposed the curfew.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mallam Ibrahim Moha-mmed, who confirmed this to newsmen in Katsina, described the perpetrators as miscreants, arsonists, criminals and murderers.
According to him, over 107 suspects had been arrested in connection with the mayhem.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that there was massive destruction of property in Malumfashi, Kankara, Daura and Jibia, while at least five churches were burnt in Daura and Funtua.
The PDP secretariat, Kankara private residence of local PDP chieftains and Governor Shema campaign office were destroyed in melee.
US warns its citizens
THE United States (US) Department of State has issued travel warnings to its citizens travelling or those who have plans to travel to Nigeria, alleging high crime rate and a state of insecurity.
It specifically told its citizens to avoid travelling to Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers; the South-Eastern states of Abia, Edo, Imo; the city of Jos in Plateau State, Bauchi and Borno states in the North-East and the Gulf of Guinea, because of the risks of kidnapping, robbery, and other attacks in these areas.
The latest directives by the US may not be unconnected with the recent bombings across the country, coupled with the ongoing crises rocking the northern part of the country after the just-concluded presidential election.
According to the US Department of State, violent crimes committed by individuals and gangs, as well as by persons wearing police and military uniforms remained a problem throughout the country.
FG deploys anti-riot policemen
Determined to restore peace to the northern part of the country, the Federal Government, on Tuesday, deployed over 400 anti-riot police officers in the crisis-ridden areas.
The police officers, before their departure to Kaduna airport, were conveyed in four different military trucks to the Air Force wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport at about 3.30 p.m.
The anti-riot police officers arrived at the presidential lounge of the airport to take a special flight to Kaduna airport, but were instructed to board their flight at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) base.
The police officers were flown out of the Lagos airport at 5.10 p.m. aboard a Hercules C-130 military plane to Kaduna, where they were expected to be dispatched to the trouble spots in the affected states of Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi and Gombe.
One of the officers, who spoke to journalists at the airports, confirmed that the officers were actually heading to Kaduna to help quell the violence in the state and other neighbouring states.
The Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Samuel Jinadu, also confirmed the story, saying that the policemen were going there to beef up security.
17 killed in Gombe
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that 17 people lost their lives during the post-presidential poll violence in Gombe, just as 100 suspects have been arrested and are currently in police custody for interrogation.
While speaking with newsmen in Gombe, after an on-the-spot assessment tour of the affected areas, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations at the Force Headquarters, who was in the North-East zone for the election, Audu Abubakar, said 100 suspects had so far been arrested in connection with the political crisis.
Abubakar described the incident as unfortunate and uncalled for, after assessing the damage inflicted on innocent people in the name of politics.
He called on politicians to always accept election results in good faith, as there must be a winner and a loser.
Speaking with newsmen, the Acting Head of Clinical Services and Training of the Federal Medical Centre, Gombe, Dr Ali Shaliza said, 71 patients of post-election violence were brought in to the hospital within the last three days.
He added that 11 persons were also brought in dead, while two others died in the hospital, adding that many patients were admitted while others were treated and discharged.
Also speaking, the official of Red Cross, Umar Buba Ahmed, said 300 casualties were attended to at by the Red Cross society, noting that over 500 displaced persons were camped at the army barracks and other security operatives barracks within the town.
Also in Gusau, Zamfara State capital, a church situated at Ahmadu Bello Way was attacked by unidentified hoodlums.
Addressing newsmen on the violence at Tsafe, the Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Jinjiri Abubakar, said 47 suspects were arrested by his men in connection with the crisis, adding, however, that no arrest was made with regard to the church that was attacked in the state capital.
Meanwhile, as Kafanchan and Zonkwa in Kaduna State erupted into a serious sectarian crisis, the state governor, Mr Patrick Yakowa, has expressed worry over the spillover and reiterated that the 24-hour curfew imposed on the state remained till further notice.
In a telephone interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa, monitored by the Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday, the Emir of Jema’a, Alhaji Isa Muha-mmadu, said there were security agents in the area, but they were overwhelmed and could not do much to restore order.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious matters, Reverend John Joseph Hayab, however, told the BBC that the state government was not informed that security agents were overwhelmed in the Southern part of the state.
When contacted on the matter, the Kaduna state Commissioner for Information, Saidu Adamu, said the “governor just addressed the press on the issue.”
The situation in Kaduna was becoming normal, as soldiers took control all over the state capital and environs.
According to the Nigerian Tribune findings, victims in Niger State were among scores of youths that attempted to invade the palace of the Etsu Nupe and chairman of the Niger state Council of Traditional rulers Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the youth first attempted to invade the palace on Monday evening, but were repelled by men of the Special Task Force only for them to regroup on Tuesday morning.
The state police spokesman, Richard Oguche, confirmed the story but denied that there was any casualty, adding that the situation in the town had returned to normal.
Corps members relocate to army barracks
Meanwhile, not less than 200 corps members deployed to Chanchaga Local Government Area of Niger State have relocated to the army barracks in Minna, for safety.
Similarly not less than 150 families had also turned the areas outside the gates into the barracks to their temporary residences for safety.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the corps members decided to seek refuge at the barracks, following failed attempt to burn over 70 of them at the Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF) family house in the Tunga area of the state capital.
The protesters had reportedly locked the corps members up in the building and set them ablaze, before one of them was able to force the door open for them to escape.
The protesters were said to have accused the corps members of assisting to rig the presidential election, which made President Goodluck Jonathan to score more than 25 per cent of votes cast in the state.
Also, corps members serving in Ringim Local Government of Jigawa State have called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Hafiz Ringim, to come to their aid and save their lives as post election riot spread to the area.
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has warned that if the political violence in the northern part of the country continues in the next 24 hours, it willd rise against it.
MASSOB, in a communiqué made available to newsmen after its emergency meeting held at its headquarters in Okwe, Onuimo Local Government Area of Imo State, on Tuesday, said “MASSOB will not fold its hands and watch the killings of Ndi-Igbo in Northern part of Nigeria.”
FG places party leaders under close surveillance
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has placed top political leaders, especially leaders of parties that contested the presidential election, under close watch, following indications that some of them were encouraging the outbreak of violence in some northern states.
Government sources confirmed that the decision was as a result of the revelations coming from a meeting of top leaders of a political party, who met in Abuja, on Monday, where one of them described the news coming from the North as encouraging.
It was gathered that anyone indicted by the security agencies might not be arrested for immediate prosecution, but would be properly investigated and documented.
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