The Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army have taken over all the venues for the planned protest by some residents of Jos, Plateau State, over the recent killings in the state.
SaharaReporters learnt that armed policemen and soldiers, with some Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) on occupied the areas waiting to deal with anyone planning to join the protest.
SaharaReporters gathered that most residents have chosen to stay indoors, apparently to prevent being caught in any clash between security operatives and protesters.
Citing the incessant killings and 20 years’ remembrance of those killed during the Jos crisis in 2001, the organisers had fixed September 7 for the protest.
But the Plateau State Government warned that protest would not be allowed in any part of the state.
“Today marks the twenty year anniversary of the start of the 2001 crisis. The September 7 movement has planned a peaceful procession to remember our dead and mourn the lives lost,” one of the organisers said.
“Last night, our attention was drawn to a “Special Press Release” credited to the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communication of Plateau State, Hon. Dan Manjang which states that the government is prohibiting a planned ‘protest beginning tomorrow, Tuesday 7th September, 2021.’
“This morning, we awoke to a heavy militarized presence surrounding all the venues for our peaceful procession. We are shocked and disturbed by these developments as we have every right to gather and mourn and pray for peace in our state. We have never been violent and have never preached violence. We have only called out for justice and we have only called out for peace. The two are necessarily and irrevocably intertwined.
“We had planned today as a peaceful procession to mark the darks days of violence and bloodshed that befell Plateau as a State started on the 7th of September, 2001 which tomorrow will mark the 20 years anniversary.
“This is what necessitated us to come together and hold candles in memorial of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers as well as friends and colleagues whom we have lost over the last two decades in the repeated circle of violence.
“Why does the government want to stop us from mourning our dead? Why are they not the ones planning this important marker of two decades of history? We are fully aware that the security situation in Jos is still fragile. In fact, this is a testament to our mission and our cause – to end the violence and insecurity.
“Our plan is to hold a peaceful and solemn memorial march and to use the opportunity to call on the Almighty God in fervent interdenominational and interfaith prayers to restore peace on the plateau.”