Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
There was palpable tension on Saturday in some parts of Makurdi, the Benue State capital following alleged protest by some Hausa youths.
Although, details were still very sketchy at the time of filing this report, Sunday Sun gathered that the crisis erupted at the popular Wurukum and Wadata areas of the Makurdi metropolis. While some sources attributed the cause of the protest to a cult clash in Wadata area which quickly spread to Wurukum area, other sources claimed that the protest actually started at the Wurukum area following the killing of some persons by irate mob.
The protest was said to have almost snowballed into a crisis situation even as Makurdi residents scampered for safety, and those who had opened their shops for commercial activities quickly closed down.
But our correspondent gathered that policemen were quickly drafted to the troubled areas to quell the situation even as normalcy was said to be gradually returning to the metropolis.
The Police Public Relations (PPRO), ASP Moses Yamu said normalcy is gradually returning to the metropolis stated adding that the police teams have been drafted to patrol all the flash points in the area just as he confirmed that many persons have been arrested in connection with the mayhem.
The state governor, Samuel Ortom has condemned the protests in parts of the state capital and directed the State Commissioner of Police to restore order in the affected places.
The Governor who spoke through his Special Adviser ( Media and ICT), Tahav Agerzua appealed to residents to remain calm and report any breach of peace to security agencies for necessary action.
Ortom who posited that the state had suffered too many losses in terms of human lives and property and cannot afford another round of crisis also directed the Police to investigate the causes of the protests, arrest and prosecute those responsible for breach of the peace.
He assured Benue people that efforts would be intensified with the collaboration of the relevant security agencies to restore peace and order to all parts of the state.
Governor Ortom has equally announced a restriction on the operation of commercial motorcycle riders popularly known as Okada in the night in the state.
The state governor who made this known at an emergency security meeting held at the Government House disclosed that the new operation time for Okada is now 6am to 6pm till the security situation in the state improves
Ortom however warned youths against taking advantage of the security situation on ground to cause tension, adding that whoever is caught with arms or doing anything contrary to the laws of the land will face the full wrath of the law.
While describing the crises as senseless and without meaning, the Governor added that a meeting of stakeholders and religious leaders would hold on Sunday even as he stressed the need for parents to sensitize their wards against taking advantage of the security challenges to perpetrate crime and bring the state backward
The governor who appealed for calm also said security operatives were on top of the situation even as he disclosed that 10 persons were injured in the process and hospitalised with properties worth millions of naira destroyed in the unfortunate situation.
Sunday Sun observed that houses, several cars and properties were either burnt or destroyed in parts of the metropolis especially in Wadata, Ankpa Ward, and Madikpo areas while streets were deserted and all shops and business premises were under lock and key.