Following last weekend’s killing of over one hundred persons in three local government areas of Plateau State, violent protests, yesterday, rocked the Government House.
The otherwise peaceful protests turned violent when no government official came out of their offices to address the protesters.
The protests came on a day the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, called on communities in the region to arise and defend themselves against unabated pogrom being launched at them by herdsmen.
This came as former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Jos yesterday, and asked the federal and Plateau State governments to identify the root cause(s) of insecurity and deal with them, so people could get reprieve from the incessant violence plaguing the land.
President Muhammadu Buhari also yesterday met with Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, with a promise to re-oganise the nation’s security apparatus to address the herdsmen crisis in the country once and for all.
The protesters threw stones, damaging some cars parked at one of the parking lot at the new Government House as well as some offices.
Among the damaged cars were those belonging to two journalists, Peter Amine of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, and Douglas Francis of Core TV.
The protesters had converged on the old airport junction and marched to Government House but were initially prevented from getting access to the premises. Some of the protesters, however, climbed the fence of the complex to gain access, forcing security men deployed to Government House to open the gate. They had expressed displeasure at not being received by any government official, even as Mr. Joseph Lengman, Director, Peace Building Agency, who was detailed to address the protesters scampered for safety. The situation turned violent when some of the protesters ran after the fleeing government officials, trying to stop them from leaving the premises. Offices of the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Permanent Secretary, Government House and other top officials of government were also attacked. The defiant protesters defied all entreaties to stop the protests, and this compelled security operatives at Government House to start shooting to scare them away. They stood their ground, demanding to see the governor to register their displeasure over the killings as well as his stance on the ranching policy.
At the time of the protest, Governor, Simon Lalong was out of office, visiting the about 50 victims of the attacks who are currently receiving treatment at Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH.