By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Rampaging hoodlums, Saturday, reportedly destroyed several cars and razed buildings, following an alleged minor skirmish between Tiv and Hausa youths in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the crisis broke out in the town as early as 8am, when for unknown reasons some Tiv and Hausa youths engaged each other in a minor quarrel which sparked the crisis.
According to an eyewitness account, “the news of the escalating crisis spread to Wadata, an Hausa settlement, where Hausa youths allegedly launched an attack on the Tivs residents in Wadata, destroying their homes and burning their cars.
“They also made attempts to match into the heart of the town, towards the high brow area but they were chased back by the military who were immediately drafted into the town to maintain the peace.
“The irate Hausa youths, armed with cutlasses, clubs and others dangerous weapons, also burnt the vehicle of the landlord of the building housing Vanguard office in Makurdi after they tried unsuccessfully to raze the building.
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom who condemned the development ,directed the State Commissioner of Police to restore order in the affected places.
The Governor appealed to residents to remain calm and report any breach of the peace to security agencies for necessary action.
In a statement issued on his behalf by his Media Adviser, Tahav Agerzua, the governor said, “the state has suffered too much losses in terms of human life and property and cannot afford another round of crisis.”
The governor also directed the Police to investigate the causes of the protests, arrest and prosecute those responsible for breach of the peace.
He assured Benue people that efforts would be intensified with the collaboration of the relevant security agencies to restore peace and order to all parts of the state.
Meanwhile the state government has ordered a 6pm to 6am restriction on the operations of commercial motorcycle in the town to check an escalation of the crisis.
When contacted, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent, ASP, Moses Yamu, who confirmed the crisis, said security had been beefed up in the town.