NO fewer than 14 students of the University of Jos were shot in a protest by the students over the killing of one them on Friday, while several people were also killed on Saturday in a related protest by aggrieved people within the university community.
Sunday Tribune learnt that in the process of trying to curtail the unfortunate situation, the STF shot into the air and 14 students were hit by stray bullets and taken to the Bingham University Teaching Hospital for treatment.
On Saturday morning, the women within the university environment staged a protest over the shooting of the students while students also joined, denouncing the STF’s action.
An eye witness told Sunday Tribune that the protest was hijacked by youths within the vicinity and turned to a rampage, leading to killing and burning of property at Farin-Kada road. In the rampage that ensued, about 20 houses were burnt, while business premises including filling stations on the route were set on fire.
Sunday Tribune learnt that along the route where the incident occurred on Saturday, four corpses were picked by men of the Red Cross Society, while other people sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds.
As at the time of filling this report, tick smoke still enveloped the air, but unlike the previous crisis within the state capital which often spread accross, the incident was restricted to just the Farin-Gada area of the state capital, while there were normal business activities in other parts of the city.
Speaking with Sunday Tribune, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdulraahman Akao, who confirmed that 14 students of the University of Jos were shot on Friday, added that two of the irate youths who carried out the provocative attack on the students were killed by men of the STF.
Speaking with newsmen, the State Commissioner of Information, Mr. Greg Nyelong, blamed the STF for the incident, adding that the Task Force did not manage the students’ protest effectively.
The commissioner said the protesting students were harmless and deserved no treatment meted out to them by the Task Force, adding that shooting at the women and students as done by the STF was wrong and deserved condemnation by all.
Ulama/Elders council condemns fresh outbreak
The Ulama/Elders Council has condemned the fresh outbreak of hostilities in Jos and frowned at the way the security men on ground handled the incident.
According to a statement signed by the Assistant Secretary of the Council, Barrister Garba Ahmed, made available to Sunday Tribune in Jos, it pointed out that Farin Gada Vegetable Market was completely razed down.
Other property mentioned were four petrol filling stations belonging to Muslims, Sardauna Memorial College burnt for the third time, some trailer parks, also belonging to Muslims were also said to have been burnt down.
It stated that the blackmail of the Plateau State Government against the Special Task Force (STF) appeared to be forcing the outfit into inaction, adding that Plateau State police command appeared to be stepping in not to stop the carnage, but to satisfy the state government.
The council called on the leadership of the University Students’ Union and the authorities of the University of Jos not to allow themselves to be dragged into the crisis in Jos.
It however, commiserated with all those who lost their dear ones and their life earnings in the recent outbreak of the crisis, saying that it will not relent on its prayers for a lasting peace in Jos and Plateau State at large.
Jos killings may escalate to tribal conflict - CNPP chieftain
FOLLOWING the escalating killings in Jos, Plateau State, the National Secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Chief Willy Ezugwu, has warned that the crises could assume ethnic colouration if steps were not taken to halt the trend.
This came as he also called for the overhauling of security apparatus in the state, from the Police Commissioner to the Commander of the Special Task Force, if the confidence of the people on security could be restored.
Speaking against the backdrop of the reported killings of 43 Igbo traders in Jos, the CNPP chieftain maintained that there was need for a decisive action to be taken by the Federal Government to help the state government stem the crisis from escalating to a tribal conflict.
Making the case in Jos while addressing Igbo traders during a meeting between the state governor, Jona Jang, and the Igbo leaders in the state, Chief Ezugwu faulted the indifference of other state governors, especially those from the South-East, to the plight of the people and government of Plateau State.
He condemned the call by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for the declaration of a state of emergency in the state, arguing that NLC should rather suggest ways of bringing peace to the state.
According to him, “this is the time when other governors should rally round Governor Jang and help intervene in the efforts to return normalcy to the state capital.
“If we call for a state of emergency in Plateau State, we should call for same in Maiduguri where the Boko Haram sect has been holding sway, Abuja where security has almost collapsed with the spate of bombings and in Bayelsa State where militants are being used to terrorise political opponents at will.
“This situation is a delicate one. The governor, as a retired military man, understands what could be done but he is the Chief Security Officer of the state and can’t control even a sergeant. The security agencies are controlled from Abuja, how then do you expect the Chief Security Officer to perform?, he querried.
“The issue of alleged connivance of military men deployed to keep peace in the state should be investigated thoroughly as the people in the villages appeared to have lost confidence in the soldiers.”