Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong has imposed a curfew on Jos North, Bassa and Jos South Local Government Areas following Saturday’s attack on Rukuba Road in Jos North Local Government Area of the state.
Twenty-three people – who were travelling from Bauchi en-route Jos to Ikare in Ondo State – were killed in the incident. Twenty-three others were injured during the attack. While the injured are receiving treatment, 26 others were rescued unhurt.
The governor, in a statement he signed on Saturday, said the curfew became necessary to avoid an escalation of tension in the affected areas.
“In order to avoid further deterioration of the situation and to protect lives and properties of citizens, I have directed the imposition of curfew on Jos North, Bassa and Jos South Local Governments commencing 6pm to 6am from today, 14th August 2021,” the statement partly read.
“Having reviewed the reports and monitored the unfolding scenario, the Government is concerned about the persisting tensions and reported attempts by some persons to take the laws into their hands by threatening to attack individuals and private facilities, as well as public property.”
Governor Lalong noted that so far, 20 suspects have been arrested, with security agencies conducting investigations to get to the bottom of the matter.
He explained that the curfew shall remain in place subject to further review by the State Security Council. Lalong advised residents of the state to abide by the directive to enable security personnel to maintain law and order in the affected areas and deal with those attempting to foment trouble.
“While I deeply sympathize with the families of those who lost their loved ones, and those injured in the unfortunate event, I call for calm and appeal to our citizens to avoid any action or utterances that will further inflame the situation.
“This is purely criminal conduct and should not be given any ethnic or religious colouration. Let us continue to be vigilant and be security conscious and do everything possible to sustain peace and security of the State,” the governor said.
Saturday’s attack has drawn condemnation from leaders across the country including President Muhammadu Buhari who described the incident as “brazen and wickedly”.
“With the evident preparedness of their attackers, it is clear this was a well-conceived and prearranged assault on a known target, location and religious persuasion of the travellers not an opportunist ambush,” presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, quoted the Nigerian leader as saying.
He also ordered security agencies to immediately swing into action and fish out the perpetrators.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on his part appealed to residents of the state not to take laws into their hands following the attack on indigenes of the state.
While he assured that the situation is under control, the Ondo leader urged the people to desist from making hasty generalisations.