Post Election Violence in Nigeria

20 April 2011

Rioters Lock in 50 Corps members set building ablaze THEY never knew that evil was on the way. All was calm in the neighbourhood, although the news had been broken that rioters were on the rampage in the city. Suddenly, it got noisy and rowdy outside the building where no fewer than 50 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members huddled together, feeling safe, away from the madness that had seized the city by the throat. Angry youths protesting the results of the presidential election stormed the Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF) Secretariat in the heart of Minna, the Niger State capital. They forcibly locked the Corps members in and set the building on fire. But the leader of the Corps members, fondly called Papa by his colleagues, found the strength to break down the door and set his colleagues free. “Some had burns,” one of the lucky boys and girls told The Nation at the Army Barracks, where they are taking refuge. He said they were initially few at the “Family House”, as the secretariat is called by NCCF members, but many rushed in to escape the rioting near their homes in other parts of the city. “We were taken by surprise. We couldn’t retrieve anything from the fire,” he said, pleading for anonymity so that, according to him, his relatives would not panic over his safety. The building was smouldering yesterday. The irate youths also burnt the NCCF 18-seater bus, which was bought two months ago, and a motorcycle belonging to the fellowship. The development has forced the NYSC to direct all Corps members in Chanchaga (Minna) Local Government Area to relocate from their homes to the Nigeria Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) barracks on the outskirts of the city. Two NYSC officials were taking care of about 200 “refugees” at the barracks. Religious organisations have sent relief materials to them. The Family House of the NCCF, a fellowship centre and a lodge for Christian corps members, was one of the seven worship centres burnt by the youths who said they were protesting the emergence of Dr Goodluck Jonathan as winner of the presidential election. If the “Minna 50” were lucky, not so four of their colleagues and two police officers in Bauchi. They were killed by rioters. Christian Association of Nigeria {CAN} chair Bishop Musa Tula said more than 20 people died in the violence unleashed on innocent people by those he suspected to be political thugs. Several churches, cars, homes and business houses were burnt. The police said over 200 suspects had been arrested in connection with the violence in Bauchi metropolis, Misau and Azare Dambam. Banks and government businesses in the state capital have closed. Three churches, including Gospel Life Church and Deeper Life Church in the state capital, were burnt. Another one in Bara, Alkaleri Local Government Area, was burnt. It was learnt that trouble started when some youths said to be CPC supporters suddenly went berserk over the results of the election. The new police commissioner deployed to the state to ensure a hitch-free election, Ammama John Abakasanga, told reporters yesterday that over 200 suspects had been arrested. He said four Youth Corps members were killed in Itas Gadau during the election. He added that no fewer than 20 other Corps members were still missing. The Commissioner said the police rescued 20 of the 51 corps members in Itas Gadau, Jamare and Dabam local government areas. The rescued Corps members are at the Police Officers’ Mess, Bauchi. But the NYSC secretariat in Bauchi yesterday kept quiet over the corps members. Abakasanga said a Divisional Crime Officer (DCO), Police Division, Jama’are Local Government Area and a woman Corporal were killed in Giade. The Divisional Police Officer and DCO of Dabam Local Government were injured. They are hospitalised. The police boss said his men recovered three ballot boxes and 10 locally made guns from the suspects, who include two under age children. There were looting and burning yesterday by youths who seized shops, business premises and the streets as early as 7a.m., attacking innocent citizens. Residents of Igbo quarters, Zango, Railway and most parts of the metropolis fled to the Army and Police barracks as the arson continued. The INEC offices in Bauchi, Jamare, Misau, Dabam and Itas Gadau were torched. The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Senator Iliya Audu, told reporters that all the offices were looted before being set ablaze. Audu said at the INEC office in Bauchi, 500 laptops, 16 power generating sets, cabinets and burglary proof belonging to the commission were stolen before the building was set on fire. No fewer than 6,000 persons have been displaced, Abubakar Adamu, Bauchi State Secretary, Nigeria Red Cross Society, said. According to Abubakar, about 23 others, who are injured, have been hospitalised. On the over 6000 displaced, the Red Cross boss said: “No food or any kind of aid has been supplied to them. They desperately need food. And the State Emergency Management Agency is yet to respond, despite their knowledge of these people’s situation.” He said residents who ran away for fear of being attacked were returning to their homes.


I got this article from Face book but could not trace the original owner and I learnt it appeared on the Nigeria newspaper THE NATION. All copy rights duly observed as this is not my origial write up, but I think the global audience need to read this.

Ogaga E. Maxwell