Plateau killings: CAN protest turns violent, government officials attacked, vehicles destroyed

The protest called on Wednesday by the Northern Zone of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Plateau State over weekend’s killing of about 200 persons by Fulani herdsmen turned violent.

CAN called the protest over the killings in three local government areas of the state by herdsmen.

But the protest, which started peacefully from the Old Airport Roundabout in Jos, turned violent as the protesters got to the Plateau State Government House.

Cars parked at the New Government House in Jos and other offices were destroyed by the protesters.

Some of the protesters climbed the fence of the Government House to gain access as they were initially stopped from gaining access to the premises.

The Plateau State Director of Peace Building Agency, Joseph Lengmang, who was detailed to address the protesters, narrowly escaped being lynched as he hurriedly scampered for safety.

But some of the protesters chased him and the fleeing government officials, trying to stop them from leaving the premises.

As they failed in their mission of stopping the fleeing officials, the protesters started to throw stones which hit cars and offices, including the structure housing the offices of the Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff, Permanent Secretary (Government House) and other top government officials.

The protesters defied pleas from security operatives who were forced to shoot into the air to disperse them.

But they stood their ground demanding to see the Governor, Simon Lalong, so they could register their displeasure over the killings as well as his position on the ranching policy.

Lalong was said to have gone to the hospital to visit about 50 victims of the attacks who were receiving treatment at the Jos University Teaching Hospital while the protest was going on.

A statement by the Government House Director of Press and Public Affairs, Emmanuel Nanle, said of the protest: “…The governor finds it regrettable that while government has chosen to recognise the right of its citizens to peacefully assemble and protest within the confines of the law, the conveners of the protest under the joint auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria (Northern Zone of Plateau State), Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (Plateau State) and Bazata Gospel Team allowed the protest to be hijacked by hoodlums who took advantage of the procession led by these organisations, to destroy government properties and vehicles of civil servants and visitors to the Government House running into millions of naira.

“The governor views this attack on the seat of government as a serious affront to the authority of the state which should not be taken lightly because of the very clear and obvious unpatriotic self serving interest of a few who have chosen to make a mockery of the grief of the victims of the attack in Gashish District and other areas of the Northern Senatorial District.

“Governor Lalong opines that the name of the Church as a moral rectitude should not have been associated in any way with any person or group of persons who would contemplate violence as a show of discontent especially in this period that all godly and peace-loving citizens are sharing in the grief of the bereaved, and calling on God in prayers and sober reflection for healing in the land.”


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