The Plateau State Government on Friday imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Jos Metropolis following “rumoured skirmishes, tension and confusion” over the situation in South East.
The government, in a statement signed by Emmanuel Nanle, the Director of Press Affairs, said the action was to avert a further breakdown of law and order.
It said security personnel had been deployed to flash points to ensure compliance with the order, and advised miscreants to avoid a clash with the law.
The statement quoted Governor Simon Lalong as expressing shock and dismay over the sudden build up of tension in Jos, while warning that government would not allow disgruntled elements to disrupt the peace.
It stated: “I am surprised that some disgruntled elements claiming to be reacting to agitations by the Independent Peoples of Biafra in the South-East, decided to throw Jos metropolis into confusion. Let everyone be clear about this – we shall not allow it.”
It further quoted the governor as assuring all Plateau State residents of protection, while appealing to religious and community leaders to promptly report anyone seeking to take advantage of the situation to engage in criminality.
Lalong also declared that Plateau State was home to all Nigerians irrespective of religious or ethnic differences.
Tyopev Terna, the Public Relations Officer of the Plateau State Police Command, who spoke on the “confusion in the city”, said it was caused by rumours that some hoodlums were attacking some people over developments in the South East.
Terna said: “We have deployed our men to all parts of the city, but nothing has been reported.
“Outside the rumour, there is no particular incident that took place.”
Terna said the situation got wilder when Igbo shop owners quickly locked their shops and started moving home in droves.
He said: “Immediately people saw the frenzy with which the shops were being locked, they started running.
“They all started scurrying to safety in various directions because they suspected that trouble was looming.
“With everybody running at the same time, confusion enveloped the city, especially the market area.
“Many people sustained injuries in the stampede.”
Terna urged Plateau State residents to be calm and assured them of protection against any attack by miscreants.
Terna also advised miscreants to leave Plateau State as security agents had been deployed to all corners to deal with them.
Tension and confusion enveloped the city beginning from around 5pm following rumours that youths were attacking people over the situation in the South East.
Areas worst affected by the confusion included: Akpata, Teminus, Gada-biyu and Yan-trailer.
Meanwhile, the Plateau State chapter of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam has appealed to the Muslim Ummah and the general public in the State to shun acts capable of disrupting the hard earned peace in the State.
In a statement by its Director of Publicity, Sani Mudi, the group said: “The events of this evening in Jos which caused panic around some parts of the metropolis, which were clearly in response to the unfortunate events in the South East, are unacceptable. JNI finds it necessary and of utmost importance to remind us that we in Plateau state had just in the last few years emerged from a decade long ethno religious conflict which left us with unbearable socio economic and political consequences. The sad saga of disruption of peace and lawlessness in some parts of the country is not worth our response except in the exhibition of mature and civil way, trusting that appropriate authorities are capable of responding as the situation warrants.
“We should therefore cherish our peaceful Co existence and do all within our power to sustain it, regardless of the provocation as peace is priceless.
“We reiterate our call on governments at all levels to ensure the protection of lives and properties of all citizens wherever they may be lawfully residing.
“We shall not relent on our commitment to peace and appeal for it at all times.
“In conclusion we restate our unflinching support to the government of plateau state under Governor Simon Bako Lalong in its effort to maintain the peace and avert any breakdown of law and order, thereby assuring citizens of the much needed peace and security which is desirable for the well being of all.
“We commend the swift response of the Plateau state government to impose dusk to dawn curfew in the Greater Jos and Bukuru metropolis. This action will surely endure prompt restoration of calm and peace not only in Jos but the state at large.
“We should know that this is a political problem and government seem to be on top of it. We should therefore avoid giving it any sort of religious coloration.”