By Jude Isiguzo:
Police tell residents to ignore danger alert on Hausa/Fulani ‘invasion’
There was panic in Lagos and Ogun yesterday, following the reported influx of armed Hausa-Fulani herdsmen into the states.
But the police doused the tension, assuring residents that all was well.
Many residents received text messages on their mobile telephones that the herdsmen came into the states from the North.
Some of the messages claimed that the herdsmen came from Jos, Plateau State, where hundreds of children and women were killed in Dogo Nahawa last Sunday.
The messages asked residents to be “alert” and beware of “strange faces”.
The Lagos and Ogun Police commands said there was no truth in such claims.
At Mowe, Kara and Ibafo on the outskirts of Lagos yesterday, the herdsmen were seen trying to settle down.
They were arranging their household items in makeshift homes.
They rebuffed attempts in speak with them.
The Lagos Command described the text messages alleging the arrival of trailer loads of strange elements with dangerous mission as false.
A statement by Commissioner of Police Marvel Akpoyibo said investigation revealed that there was no truth in the claims.
The statement entitled: “Security Alert”, reads: “The attention of the Lagos State Police Command has been drawn to various text messages currently in circulation and on the internet, alleging the arrival of trailer loads of strange elements in the state. Investigation carried out so far has revealed that there is no truth whatsoever in these seemingly alarming text messages.
“The state police command has, however, put proactive measures in place to ensure safety of lives and property of all law-abiding citizens in the state. Members of the public are, therefore, advised to continue to exercise their civic responsibilities by covertly passing information on all suspicious characters to the police rather than encourage the spread of false text messages that were circulated in the first instance to cause scare and restiveness in the state.
“The police command is sincerely appreciative of the collaborative efforts, who have continued to render assistance to the police on our collective resolve to realise our mission statement of ‘zero tolerance’ for crime in Lagos State.
“Members of the public are hereby advised to go about their lawful business without fear as the state command is determined at all times and by the grace of God to guarantee service delivery to the good people of Lagos State.
The Ogun Command yesterday placed Kara near Ibafo on the Lagos –Ibadan Expressway, under a 24-hour surveillance.
A statement by the Command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, described the herdsmen as harmless traders.
“No single offensive weapon was found on them after a thorough search and interrogation conducted by the senior officers of the Command who were drafted to the area.
“Without mincing words, these visitors are pure Hausa Fulani traders who have come with their family members for their genuine businesses and not for any harm,” Adejobi stated.
Adejobi said the herdsmen did not come from the North but were displaced vegetables/fruits dealers in Akani – Modo Market, Mile 12, Lagos.
They were displaced following the development projects being undertaken in the market by the Lagos State Government, he said.
In Jos, Plateau State, there was anxiety yesterday – exactly one week after the killings.
But there were fears of a fresh bloodbath, with the arrest of over 45 youths by a joint patrol team of the army and the police.
Most churches in Vwang, Turu, Chugwi and Fwil did half services. Many worshippers rushed out of churches over fear of possible attacks. Most of the churches closed half way into their services, when the news of the arrest of 45 suspected militant youths who were said to be coming from Lafia, Nasarawa State, was broken.
The news kept transporters off Jos yesterday. Most passengers who left Jos for Port Harcourt on Saturday, with intention of returning yesterday were stranded.
A text message received from Port Harcourt from a Jos journalist said they were “finding it difficult to come back after the news of the arrest that went to the press”.
Police spokesman Mohammed Lerema, told our reporter on phone that the “arrested persons were still undergoing interrogation and as soon as they are done, the outcome would be made public”.
A member representing Jos-South and Jos-East in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bitrus Kaze, urged the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike, and the Chief of Army Staff, General AbdulRahman Danbazzau, to hold the General Officer Commanding, 3 Armoured Division, Jos, Major General Saleh Maina, responsible for the Dogon-Nahawa killings.
“So long as General Maina remains the G.O.C of Jos, there is no guarantee for peace in Jos, because we have totally lost confidence in him,” Kaze said, adding:
“Maina declared to us that the Army has taken full security operations of Jos and Plateau State. He added that since then maintenance of law and order in Plateau State is now a military operation. He further assured all that he was going to do the job professionally and in accordance with the law.
“So, he must be held responsible for the carnage at Dogon-Nahawa because he said he has taken over the full security of Plateau State. He even ordered all other security agencies to be subjected to his command against known constitutional provisions. Therefore, he should be held responsible for anybody that is lost since he took over the security operation.”
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