John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government thursday warned that anyone planning to foment trouble would be dealt with by security agencies.
The warning is against the backdrop of alleged attacks on Hausa community in Umuahia, Abia State, by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu.
For fear of the unknown, some Igbo traders did not open their shops until around 10: 00 and 11a.m.
Those who spoke with THISDAY, expressed uncertainty about their safety following the incidents in Umuahia.
A trader, Mr. Odirichuku Okafor, told THISDAY that Igbo were living under palpable fear of the unknown following the incident in Umuahia.
Okafor who is from Anambra State, said his relations had asked him to return home.
â€œFrankly speaking, we are afraid of the unknown, you never can tell what will happen that is why some of us did delayed opening our shops. There is a feeling of uncertainty among us and we are being careful.
â€œMy relations back home have been bombarding me with calls and mounting pressure on me to return homeâ€ he said.
Also commenting on the situation, a community leader, Mr. Donatus Ezenekwe, noted that there is general apprehension and tension among Igbo.
â€œWe are being cautious because, you never can tell what will happen. We have asked our people not to respond or react to any provocation from anyone to avoid troubleâ€ he said.
However, the Kaduna State Government in a statement assured all residents of their safety.
The statement signed by Samuel Aruwan, spokesman to governor Nasir el-Rufai, said the state government had taken appreciable security measures to ensure safety of lives and property.
The statement also warned against incitements and hate speeches as well as the spreading of false information.
â€œThe state government and the security agencies have taken appropriate action to secure lives and property. Therefore, every citizen should go about their lawful duties without let or hindrance.
â€œThe security situation is under constant review, including events that have taken place in other parts of the country. Our diverse communities will not be engulfed by negative conduct that has taken place elsewhereâ€, Aruwan said.
He added that security agencies were staging shows of force and patrols as part of efforts to build confidence among citizens and deter mischief-makers.
He added that personnel of the State Security Service (SSS), and the police were also engaged in outreach to communities too while the traditional institutions had been alerted and were engaging people in their domains to keep the peace.
â€œEvery resident must live up to their civic responsibilities, and must shun and report anyone seeking or urging reprisals against innocents.
â€œThe Kaduna State Government urges everyone to resist the temptation to take the law into their hands. There should be no recourse to self-help in Kaduna State. It will not be tolerated and will be punished accordingly. In times like these, every citizen is expected to do their duty to uphold peace and harmony.
â€œGovernment wishes to reiterate that it will not tolerate hate speech and incitement. Members of the public should verify information before they share. Kaduna State is peaceful. No community or market is under attack, and robust efforts are being applied to maintain the peaceâ€ the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) has accused leader of the IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, of an alleged plans to plunge Nigeria into war.
The group in a statement yesterday in Kaduna, said Kanu and his cohorts do not have the interest of the Igbo at heart as his actions were endangering the lives and properties of the Igbo resident outside the southeast.
The statement signed by the National President of AYF, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, however, assured that his group was working hard curtail any reprisals in the North, arising from the tension in the South East.
The group decried news of destruction of lives and property in Abia and Rivers States by IPOB members allegedly targeted at Hausa/Fulaniâ€.
Gunjungu called on Northerners to show high level of maturity, intelligence and patriotism, and avoid being provoked to behave in the same manner like the aggressors who have ulterior motive of throwing the whole country into chaos.
â€œLet us be different and show that we are a people that are peace loving and hospitable to those among us.
â€œNnamdi Kanu and the vast majority of his gullible followers were not born when Nigeria fought the civil war to keep us all as one.
â€œMillions lost their lives. These ill-informed persons do not know the misery, death and destruction that war brings. It is therefore, too easy for them to beat the drums of warâ€ the statement said.