Cars, buildings damaged as violent protest rocks Jos over mass killing

Jos protest Plateau

Jos, the capital of Plateau State was hit by violent protest on Wednesday as residents marched against the killing of over 100 people when herdsmen invaded three local government areas over the weekend.

It came on the day the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) called on communities in the region to arise and defend themselves against unabated attack by cattle herders.

The protest, which started peacefully, turned violent when youths and women damaged some cars parked at the New Government House in Jos and other offices.

Peter Amine of the News Agency of Nigeria and Douglas Francis of Core TV reportedly had their cars damaged.

The protesters, who had converged on the Old Airport Junction and marched to the Government House, were initially repelled from getting access to the premises.  Some of them climbed the fence to gain access to the Government House, forcing security agents at the gate to eventually open it.

One of the protesters, Mafeng Gyendeng, expressed displeasure over the failure of the Plateau State Government to receive them.

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 so they could register their displeasure over the killings as well as his position on the ranching policy.

Governor Simon 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.

Lalong later condemned the attack on the Government House by protesters, saying they would be fished out and punished accordingly within the confines of the law.

According to him, the protest represented one of the saddest commentaries in the collective resolve of Plateau people to stand and be united against evil, adding that it constituted “a serious affront to the authority of the state,” Lalong said in a statement issued on Wednesday night by the Government House Director of Press and Public Affairs, Emmanuel Nanle.

He regretted that while government was making efforts at sustaining the tempo of arrest and prosecution of those who had over the years threatened peace, and worked so hard to turn our state into the sad era of bloodletting, “unpatriotic elements have chosen to frustrate the intention.”