Benue: Soldiers deployed as Hausa youths protest

  • Two days after Benue state had buried 73 victims of herdsmen killings, youths in their thousands took to the street to stage protest
  • The protesting youths of Hausa-Fulani stock stage a protest over alleged attack on them by Tiv youths on Thursday when the 73 victims were buried
  • Polices’ intervention averted what could have sparked a fresh mayhem in the state
  • 15 vehicles were set ablaze
  • Fight broke out when Hausa youths attempted to break into electronic shops owned by Igbo traders

Soldiers last night, took over the streets of Makurdi, the Benue State capital, a few hours after the quick intervention of the police averted what could have sparked a fresh mayhem in the state.

The state had, only 48 hours earlier, buried 73 victims of herdsmen killings.

The deployment of the soldiers was ordered by the State Security Council after reviewing the situation in the state.

The security meeting also banned commercial motorcycles from the streets between 6pm and 7am until further notice.

The police had broken up a protest by youths of Hausa-Fulani stock who were showing their anger over alleged attack on them by Tiv youths on Thursday when the 73 victims were buried.

Some Tiv were said to have gone round Wadata, Wurukum, Northbank and Angwan – Jukun areas of Makurdi, which are heavily populated by Hausa-Fulani, on that day to enforce the directive of the government that all business premises and markets be closed in honour of the 73 victims.

This apparently did not go down well with the Hausa-Fulani youths who decided to go on the rampage yesterday, even as the state played host to a delegation from the Senate which came for an on-the-spot assessment of the Benue killings.

The protesters barricaded the busy Ankpa quarters junction and began to smash passing vehicles.

Overall, 15 vehicles were set ablaze and several passengers and motorists molested. There were sounds of gunshots.

The protesters went as far as Madikpo and Dele Bookshop areas of the city.

As the protest spread, shop owners quickly closed their shop while others ran helter skater.

But when some of the rampaging youths attempted to break into electronic shops owned by Igbo traders, the owners launched a fierce resistance and a fight broke out.

Another account said the the protest was provoked by an accident in which an Hausa man was knocked down by a car.

Governor Samuel Ortom, through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, condemned the protest and asked security agents to go after the trouble makers.

Benue, he said, has had enough blood and now needs peace.

The Nation however gathered that the protest by Hausa-Fulani youths may not be unconnected with the work free day declared on the day 73 persons were buried.

The governor, later in the day, addressed a prayer and fasting programme for residents of Makurdi and Guma, organised by the Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse.

Ortom warned against reprisal attacks by the people of the state, saying such would aggravate the security situation in the state.

Vengeance, he said, is of God, adding that two wrongs do not make a right.

He said reprisals would only put the lives of innocent indigenes of the state residing elsewhere in danger.

Also addressing the gathering, the Tor Tiv appealed to the people to return to God, even as he prayed for prosperity as well as their political and economic advancement in Nigeria.

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