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VIOLENCE UP NORTH!

By NBF News
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TEARS streaming down her face, the woman was screaming into her handset:  ' Hello! Obi ! Obi!, Answer me now!, Hello ! O my God! Please, save him for me.'

A few minutes before she had received a frantic call from her brother Obi, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member in the northern state of Bauchi who had told her he was in hiding.

'He told me the house in which he lived and two churches had been torched by angry youths and he was trying to find his way to the nearest military barracks.

'But I have been trying his number for sometime now. It rings but he does not pick the call. O! My God.'

That woman's distraught plea for the safety of her loved one was one of thousands that greeted the news that irate youths in several states in the north had gone on rampage, attacking people, burning houses, churches in protest against President Goodluck Jonathan's victory at the polls.

So far, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Gombe, Sokoto, Katsina, Adamawa and Niger states have been seized in the orgy of violence ostensibly to protest the outcome of the presidential polls, but which seem to be taking ethnic and religious coloration.

By yesterday morning in Kaduna, several people were said to have been killed while properties worth billions of naira, including churches and mosques were set on fire.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters as well as houses  belonging to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains in Hayanbanki and Tudunwada were set ablaze by irate youths

In Zaria, several people were reportedly killed while a Baptist Church was razed by an angry mob alleged to be supporters of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

In areas of the metropolis such as Angwar Muazu, Kabala West, Rigasa, Kawo, Tundun Wada, Anguar Romi, and Sabo, angry youths on Sunday, mounted roadblocks burning tyres and attacking perceived political opponents.

Eyewitnesses said that policemen guarding a branch of the GTB Bank along Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway Bye Pass, Kabala West were attacked and seriously injured by the rampaging youths.

Many students currently writing the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate examinations in the state could not get to the centres located in the troubled areas.

A resident of Kaduna, in a telephone conversation said: 'Please pray for us. It's not funny at all. We are in fear, not sure of their next target.

'There is police patrol but the speed with which the riot is spreading is overwhelming them.

'Now we are indoors and some of the areas affected include Tudun-wada and the whole of the Western bye-pass, from Badiko to Kabala West boundary.

Responding to the mayhem, the Kaduna State Government imposed a 24-hour curfew which security agencies, including the military have been ordered to enforce.

The State Governor Patrick Yakowa, in a broadcast said the curfew became imperative to forestall the total breakdown of law and order.

He lamented that for no justifiable reasons, groups of persons in some parts of the state had  resorted to violence and wanton destruction of lives and property since Sunday night.

Yakowa said that in order to defuse the rising tension and following the advice of the Security Council, the state government decided to restrict the movement of persons.

In Sokoto, hundreds of youths had on Sunday barricaded the major route leading to the palace of the Sultan as well

They made bonfires on the streets and chanted songs uncomplimentary to Sultan and state governor.

A visibly worried Lagosian, Femi Ekundayo said,   'the situation in Sokoto is very had because no matter how many such crises had been in the north, Sokoto had always remained peaceful

'For them to now take the protests to the seat of the Caliphate shows that the security agents must be on their toes.'

Violence was also reported in Gombe, Yola while unverified reports claim scores of cars have been burnt in Katsina.

Gombe State government has already imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew to prevent an escalation of the crisis.

In Adamawa State, irate youths are up in arms in Madagali and Mubi Local Councils alleging that the election result figures were changed overnight.

Many students currently writing the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate examinations in the state could not get to the centres located in the troubled areas.

Meanwhile, Governor Patrick Yakowa has announced the imposition of a 24-hour curfew on the entire state.

The governor said in his live broadcast: 'Dear fellow citizens of Kaduna State, the presidential election has just been completed and results are currently being released on a state by state basis from INEC.

'Since last night, groups of people, for no justifiable reasons have resorted to acts of violence and wanton destruction of lives and properties of law abiding citizens in some parts of the state.

In Gombe, at least 10 people died when some youths attacked the residence of a PDP chieftain.

A security guard in the house said the youths came at about 2 p.m.   On Sunday, ransacked the house, and set it ablaze.

Similarly, a policeman was Sunday killed by some irate youth along Biu road in the state capital. The policeman was said to have been hacked to death on his way home, after closing from duty at around 6 a.m.

The State Commissioner of Police, Suleman Lawal confirmed the death of the policeman.

He also confirmed that a dusk to dawn curfew has been imposed on the state.