20 April, 2011

How BBC caused crisis in the North

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FALLOUT: North boils *Vice-President Sambo's family house torched in Zaria *Na'Abba's, Tofa's, Salisu Buhari's houses razed in Kano *Emir of Kano's palace, Gov Lamido's company burnt *How BBC caused crisis in the North
Written by Kola Oyelere, Hassan Ibrahim, Ishola Michael, Isaac Shobayo and Dipo Laleye
Tuesday, April 19, 2011


THERE were violent reactions, on Monday, across the northern part of the country to the result of Saturday's presidential election, which saw the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP's) candidate, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, emerge as the winner.



People demonstrate in Nigeria's northern city of Kano where running battles broke out between protesters and soldiers on April 18. A new outbreak of post-poll rioting in northern Nigeria left many dead overnight, the Red Cross said, after President Goodluck Jonathan appealed for unity following his win.
(AFP/File/Seyllou Diallo)


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The reactions left in their wake burnt houses of prominent politicians, including Vice-President Namadi Sambo in Zaria, Kaduna State; Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na'Abba and former presidential candidate, Alhaji Bashir Tofa. The palace of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, was also reportedly torched.

Also, a company, said to belong to Governor Lamido was vandalised.

Elsewhere, public places were reportedly vandalised and burnt with a number of people killed in protest against the alleged manipulation of the presidential election result in favour of President Jonathan against Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidate, who is from the North.

The youth, whose ages were put between 15 and 20, had alleged manipulation of the result of Saturday's presidential election in favour of the PDP and the perceived connivance of some northern politicians with President Jonathan to stop Major-General Buhari.

Some churches in the Badawa and Na'bawa areas were burnt down, by the youth, who later attempted to attack the Kano State Government House before they were dispersed by security agents, who fired gunshots sporadically for about 10 minutes.

Curfew in Kano, Kaduna
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State government, on Monday, imposed a 24-hour curfew to prevent the youth from causing further havoc in the state capital.

The youth, according to reports, had targeted chieftains of the PDP in the state capital who had to run away with their families for dear life.

In the northern part of the Kaduna metropolis, some places of worship were torched as thick dark smoke billowed into the sky for several hours.

Many people, especially non-indigenes and their families, had since run away to police or army barracks to seek refuge.

Foodstuffs are already becoming scarce, as shops and nearby markets cannot open due to the crisis.

As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that President Jonathan was leading, aggrieved youths in the Tudun Wada area started to heckle PDP supporters and in the process, burnt a famous eatery on the Nnamdi Azikiwe Way-Abuja Road.

Two houses of a local council chairman in the Kabala Costain area were razed while his whereabouts could not be ascertained at the time of filing this report.

Staunch PDP members in Tudun Wada and adjoining Unguwan Sanusi (names withheld) had to run away, as the mob razed their buildings and vandalised property.

Unconfirmed reports had it that innocent persons were injured as a result of attacks with crude weapons by the Yantauri, those believed to have spiritual protection from knife cuts and other metallic objects.

Although the violence continued to spread to several areas in Kaduna, small planes and helicopters that hovered in the sky scared many of the hoodlums, who scampered and hid to avoid being detected by the security men on surveillance.

The Kaduna State government said it had imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state and all security agencies, including the military, had been ordered to enforce it.

According to reports, in Zaria, several people were reportedly killed in the crisis and a Baptist Church in the city was razed.

The rampaging youth torched the family home of Vice President Namadi Sambo located at the Tudun Wada area of the city.

According to reports, the prison in Zaria was broken by hoodlums but the warders and other security agents had intensified effort to salvage the situation.

Meanwhile, armoured tanks were deployed by the military authorities to strategic parts of the state and combined unit of the police, Civil Defence Corps and other security agents intensified patrol to make sure that people observe the curfew imposed on the state.

In Angwar Romi and Sabo areas of the state capital, youths armed with machetes, cudgels and other dangerous weapons mounted roadblocks and searched vehicles. One of them, who declined to identify himself, said the search was aimed at checking the importation of bombs and other dangerous arms and explosives into their areas by would-be terrorists who might want to take advantage of the crisis to wreak havoc.

The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Kaduna, had in announcements continued to urge the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Hafiz Ringim and the other security agencies to take prompt action in order to bring the situation under control.

The commercial centre of the state capital, Ahmadu Bello Way, as well as the Sheikh Gumi Central Market, remained locked while commercial banks were closed to customers.

Governor Patrick Yakowa said in a live broadcast to the people, that following the outbreak of violence in some areas, the government had imposed a 24-hour curfew on the entire state.

He, however, said for no justifiable reasons, groups of persons in some parts of the state decided to resort to violence and wanton destruction of life and property since Sunday night.

Yakowa said in order to defuse the rising tension and following the advice of the security council, the state government decided to restrict the movement of persons, adding that "the security agencies have been directed to enforce this decision in order to protect the life and property of all law-abiding citizens of our dear state."

He appealed to the people of the state to remain law abiding, calm and stay at home until normalcy returned.

Meanwhile, calm is gradually returning to the city, as people remain indoors, but gunshots were heard from the Camp road/Almannar area of Kaduna GRA where, according to reports, attempts were made by the rampaging youths to torch the family home of the vice-president.

An indefinite curfew has been imposed in and around Kano, following the outbreak of violence which erupted in the commercial city, resulting in the death of no fewer than two persons.

The Kano State Commissioner of Police, Dan'azumi Doma, announced the emergency security measure, after a meeting of heads of security agencies.

The police commissioner said the curfew would be in force until further notice, while warning residents of Kano to remain indoors, as anybody found violating the curfew would be arrested and prosecuted.

"We have imposed an indefinite curfew in Kano State with immediate effect. So all law-abiding citizens are advised, in their own interest, to go to their respective homes and wait for further notice," he said.

As early as 8.00 a.m, on Monday, thousands of irate youths took to the streets, burning homes and mounting roadblocks on some major roads across the city, forcing residents to run for their lives.

In most parts of Kano city, especially Hotoro, Badawa, Sharada, Na'ba-wa, and Dakata, the aggrieved youth attacked homes of some supposed pro-Jonathan politicians, in what was now believed to be a clear case of post-election violence.

A combined team of police and army had been drafted to all streets in the state capital, while the situation remained tense, as most streets were empty and businesses under lock and key.
Activities paralysed in Gombe

Also in Gombe, supporters of the CPC, mainly youths, continued their violent activities and burnt down structures belonging to PDP stalwarts as well as government structures and places of worship around the town, killing one policeman in the process.

A divisional police officer of one of the police divisions was also wounded and was currently receiving treat-ment at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Gombe.

An eyewitness disclosed that Abuja Quarters was the worst hit, as the rampaging youth targeted the private residence of the state governor, Muhammad Danjuma Goje, as well as houses of other PDP stalwarts in the area, chanting Nigeria sai Buhari.

The youth, who were in their hundreds, carried different sizes of weapons with which they unleashed terror on their victims, a development that made people to desert the streets and went back to their respective homes for cover.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune on the phone, the state police commissioner, Suleiman Lawal, said "the situation is under control now, as we have been able to get the irate youth off the streets and normalcy is gradually returning to the town but the restriction of movement from one place to the other remains in order to check the activities of the youth."

Lawal, however, said the rampaging youth could not gain entrance into the Government House as planned, neither were they able to get anywhere close to the private residence of the governor, adding that, "we are on top of the situation, there is no cause for any alarm."

At the time of this report, there were no plans to impose a curfew in the state but the commissioner said the stay at home order would remain in force until normalcy fully returned.

Taskforce curtails protest in Jos
The Special Military Task Force (STF) in charge of security in Plateau State and the police averted a protest by irate youth on Monday over the outcome of the presidential election, held on Saturday.

As the results were being collated and it was discovered that the incumbent President Jonathan was leading, youths in predominantly Hausa/Fulani parts of Jos, precisely Bauchi Road, Nasarawa and Masalaci areas, trooped out in large numbers to protest the results being released.

Nigerian Tribune learnt that the youth, armed with weapons, barricaded the areas and lit bonfire along the roads to prevent free flow of movement.

It was learnt that on getting wind of the protest, the STF, led by its commander, Brigadier-General Hassan Umaru, mobilised to the scenes of the protests to arrest the situation.

Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, STF Public Relations Officer, Captain Charles Ekeocha, who said the cause of the protest was yet to be ascertained, stated that some youths suddenly trooped out at about 10.00 a.m, claiming to be protesting.

Ekeocha, who said the force was able to tactically force the youth to retreat, added that security men had taken over the affected areas and were now patrolling to avoid any breakdown of law and order.

Gov Aliyu calls for peace
The Niger State governor, Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, on Monday, pleaded with the people of the state to give peace a chance and accept the results of the presidential election "as the will of Allah."

Aliyu's call came as markets, shops and public offices were hurriedly closed in Minna, Suleja, Bida and Kontagora, as protesters took to the streets in disagreement with the victory of President Jonathan.

At least five cars, one motorcycle and four places of worship were reportedly burnt in Minna, even as bonfires were lit along the major streets in the state capital.

One of the monuments under construction by the state government in the Kpakungu area of Minna was also burnt by the protesters.

A policeman, who had just closed from duty and was entering his house, was attacked and was battered, even as the hand of a staff member of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was chopped off.

Following the inability of the police to contain the situation, heavily armed soldiers were deployed to maintain law and order in all these towns.

No fewer than eight persons who were throwing stones from buildings in the Kpakungu area were arrested and taken to the police headquarters.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Richard Oguche, confirmed the unrests, saying "a large number of arrests have been made."

Jonathan warns perpetrators
President Jonathan has called on those involved in the violence to desist forthwith from the acts, in the interest of peace and stability in the country.

In an address to the people of the country, on Monday, President Jonathan expressed sadness at the occurrence and urged political leaders to prevail on their supporters to stop the riots.

According to the statement, "I have received with great sadness the news of sporadic unrests in some parts of the country, which are not unconnected with last Saturday's elections.

"I appeal to those involved to stop this unnecessary and avoidable conduct, more so at this point in time when a lot of sacrifice has been made by all the citizens of this great country in ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections."

Jonathan noted the positive comments of local and international observers on the integrity of the just-concluded presidential election, which the PDP won and restated that no political ambition was worth the blood of any Nigerian.

"All of us are further encouraged by the comments of the independent election monitors and observers, both domestic and international, on how transparent and credible the elections have been so far.

"Therefore, it is with the deepest sense of responsibility that I call on all our political leaders, especially the contestants, to appeal to their supporters to stop further violence in the interest of stability, peace and well-being of this great country," Jonathan said.

IGP vows to apprehend perpetrators
Meanwhile, The Inspector Gene-ral of Police, Hafiz Ringim, has blamed the riots and violence in some parts of the North in the aftermath of the presidential election on groups and persons that have refused to accept defeat in the election.

Ringim also said the violence was neither ethnic nor religiously-motivated, vowing to apprehend the perpetrators.

A statement from Ringim on Monday said: "the spate of violence is being engineered by persons who failed to accept the results of the last election.

"The security agencies are in the process of identifying and arresting the perpetrators behind this mindless mischief across the country."

How BBC caused crisis in the North
Meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa Service had been blamed for the riots and confusion in Adamawa State, following its alleged broadcast that the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, had won the election in Adamawa State, when the electoral commission in the state was still collating results.

The Special Adviser to the Adamawa State Governor, Aminu Iyawa, told journalists that the BBC broadcast was orchestrated to cause mischief and chaos. He said violence erupted after the electoral commission announced Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP as winner in the state.

http://odili.net/news/source/2011/apr/19/602.html

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