After a flare-up between some Hausa and Igbo youths in Jos, the State government has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in a substantial part of the State capital.
In Abia State, the State government has announced that there will be a gradual withdrawal of soldiers from Umuahia and Aba.
Reports from Umuahia said sympathisers of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had a mini rally along Aba Road opposite the Federal Medical Center (FMC) and burnt tyres on the road linking Aba Road to Afara, the ancestral home of Nnamdi Kanu.
There was a report of a stray bullet hitting a bank customer trying withdraw money from ATM at Diamond Bank directly opposite the Government House Umuahia.
A drive around town showed there was calm in the State capital. The ever busy Isi Gate (City Center) was calm but traffic was light unlike other days. Shops were open but banks are exercising caution with gates closed and customers screened before entry.
At the Abia Mall, housing the popular Shoprite, security is tight and customers are screened and cars searched before entry. Business is on-going as usual.
However, on the Plateau, a statement by the government confirmed the disagreement in the capital stemmed from negative reactions to the agitations of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in Abia State.
The curfew within the Greater Jos – Bukuru Metropolis will last until further notice.
“The deployment of security personnel to all flash points within the metropolis has also been directed to ensure compliance with the curfew order and to avert any further breach of law and order, ” the statement added.
Governor Simon Lalong assured residents of Jos of their safety, and appealed to all religious and community leaders and law abiding citizens to ensure no one takes advantage of the situation to engage in criminality.
In an update to residents of Abia State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, disclosed that he would be meeting President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss possible ways of relaxing the Operation Python dance 11 in the state.
But he warned that with the expected exit of soldiers from the streets, the government will not tolerate agitators and protesters taking over the streets for any reason at all.
He said further: “Our attention have been drawn to ugly incidences of attacks on police stations and military posts at Aba and Umuahia and we hereby warn that we will no longer tolerate that, and all other acts that are capable of causing insecurity in the state.
“We have also observed illegal acts of throwing petrol bombs and setting up of bonfires to obstruct free movements along some roads by suspected miscreants and wish to warn that such acts should stop forthwith.
“To mischief makers who want to use Abia as their base, let me announce to you that henceforth, Abia will be too hot for you to carry out your wicked acts as the government will work with security agents to ensure the protection of lives and properties in the state without fear or favor. There will be no hiding place for you.
“At about midnight yesterday, we received security reports that hoodlums and miscreants, some of whom were allegedly brought into the state by unscrupulous individuals, were mobilizing around Uratta road at Aba with a view to converging at Ariaria International Market to burn it down. Their aim was obviously to take advantage of the security situation in the state to cripple the economy of the state and cause widespread suffering.
“It was this group that originated the rumors of attacks and counter attacks around the area and also tried to create panic to force people out of their homes to enable them execute their evil intentions under the cover of orchestrated crises.
“Thankfully their plan was nipped in the bud by the combined team of soldiers and policemen that promptly moved to the area and later positioned around Ariaria market to protect the lives and properties of our people.
“We have it on good authority that the same group of hoodlums attempted to burn down the police station at Ariaria market early today and security agents are currently on the hunt for them and those outside the state who are sponsoring their evil actions. Not even one of them will escape the full weight of the law.
“Members and sympathizers of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) should henceforth desist from spreading false rumors capable of throwing our state into disorder. Those spreading such falsehood will be dealt with, according to the Law.
“My fellow Abians, it is in the interest of all our citizens and residents for full and total peace and security to return to our state immediately. No meaningful progress can be made in an atmosphere of violence and and anarchy.
“Those at Aba are therefore advised to fully observe the current curfew in the city and ensure that they cooperate with security agents to maintain peace and order.
“I swore to protect lives and properties of all Abians and residents and that I must do. I therefore call on all to support our efforts at making sure that lasting peace prevails in our dear State”