Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State has relaxed the 24-hour curfew earlier imposed on Jos North Local Government on Sunday to its earlier status, his spokesman, Dr. Makut Simon Macham, has said in a statement.
State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Dan Manjang, earlier on Wednesday debunked rife rumours of the lifting of curfew.
In Zamfara State, 13 persons including a woman and her newborn baby , were killed, while about 30 others were abducted.
It was gathered that the armed bandits attacked Randa community in Dansadau district of Maru Local Government Area, Zamfara state. Some of the victims were burnt to death in their houses, where they were hiding from being kidnapped, by the bandits.
A traditional ruler, Mustapha Unar, told newsmen that the assailants set many houses ablaze. He said that some of the captives escaped as they were being taken to the forest. The state police spokesperson, Muhammad Shehu, said he will issue a statement on the incident, whenever the information is available.
In another development, a policeman was killed, after bandits attacked a commercial bus in Dansadau. It was gathered that the commercial bus was travelling to Gusau, from Dansadau, when it was attacked by the bandits. The police was attached to the commercial bus to provide security for the passengers.
Meanwhile, the abducted students of the College of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, Bakura in Zamfara State have appealed to Governor Bello Matawalle and the government to pay the ransom demanded by their abductors within 24 hours.
In a 30-second video clip obtained by Channels Television on Wednesday, the students were seen begging the state government to do the needful to ensure they are released by the bandits.
“We are the students of the College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Bakura that were abducted by the bandits,” said one of the students who spokes in Hausa.
“You can see the conditions we are in. They are threatening to kill us if the government does not produce the ransom in 24 hours. The bandits even took us to see the dead bodies of those they have killed.”
In the video, the students and some of the female staff were seen squatting and blindfolded with the heavily armed men surrounding them.
Hours after the video was released, the Commissioner for Information in Zamafar, Ibrahim Dosara, told Channels Television that the state government would do everything possible to secure the release of the abducted students and staff of the college.
He explained that a joint team of security agencies have begun a search and rescue operation.
The commissioner attributed the recent upsurge of bandits’ activities in the state to the intense military operation against recalcitrant bandits in the entire north-west region.
A total of 20 people comprising 15 students, four staff, and a driver were abducted on Sunday night when bandits stormed the school.
During the attack, two watchmen and a police officer were killed.
Two days after the incident, the abductors demanded a ransom of N350 million before they would release their victims.
Under the new arrangement, in Plateau State, the curfew will be observed from 6 p.m to 6 a.m daily beginning from Thursday 19th August 2021. This will also apply to Bassa and Jos South Local Government Areas untill further notice.
The decision, the statement disclosed, was reached after the State Security Council meeting held at the Government House Rayfield on Wednesday where the Governor received briefings from the heads of security agencies and also reviewed the situation.
In relaxing the curfew, Governor Simon Lalong warned trouble makers to desist from threatening lives and properties of citizens or be ready for a showdown with security forces who have been directed to be tough with anyone causing a breach of the peace.
He expressed outrage over what he called the desperation of criminals bent on causing mayhem in the State, as there were isolated attacks which led to loss of lives and destruction of properties in some areas of Jos North and Bassa LGAs during the curfew.
While the curfew is relaxed in Jos North, security agencies will mount permanent checkpoints in high vulnerable areas; deploy more uniform and plain clothes personnel; and also observe the conduct of citizens round the clock.
The Governor also reiterated that the prohibition on processions was still in force and anyone found violating the order will be dealt with according to the law.
The Governor appreciated the cooperation of law abiding citizens and urged them to continue to support Government to deal with the situation and restore normalcy to the affected areas and the State at large.
He urged parents and community leaders to prevail on their wards to maintain pecae as the Government does not want to be forced to always resort to curfews which affect the economy and freedom of the people and the State as a whole.
▪︎ Additional report by Channels Television