Irate youths in Warji Local Government Area of Bauchi State have set houses and shops ablaze, injuring people over what they say is a blasphemous message.
Spokesperson of the Bauchi Police Command, SP Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, said in a statement on Saturday that the youths “set six houses and seven shops ablaze, while some scores of persons were injured as a result of a blasphemous message posted on social media”.
According to him, the message was posted by one Rhoda Jatau a 40-year-old staff of the Medical Department of Warji Local Government.
In reaction to the violence which he said happened at about 5:45 pm on Friday, Mohammed said, “The Police have since deployed all Tactical Teams, Mobile Police Force and Rapid Response Squad (RRS) whose joint efforts brought the situation under control.
“The area is calm for now, while visibility Patrols are ongoing to keep the peace.”
The incident has led to tension in the state, but the police urged people to be calm.
The Police Commissioner in the state appealed to the general public to be calm and go about their lawful business without fear of intimidation as normalcy has been restored to the affected area.
“The Command would like to use this medium to reiterate the need for parents and guardians to maintain strict vigilance over the activities of their wards, particularly youths,” Mohammed said.
“The Commissioner of Police also urged Religious Leaders, Community Leaders, and Elders generally to always speak to youths to desist from anything that could temper with the security of their areas.”
The full extent of the damage and those affected have not fully been ascertained by the authorities.
A source in Warji said three people were shot and injured with Dane guns during the violence.
The violence in Bauchi is coming with the country yet to resolve the case of Deborah Samuel, the 200-level student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education Sokoto, who was killed by a mob after being accused of blasphemy.
Deborah’s case sparked outrage, drew condemnation, led to the arrest and arraignment of two suspects, a violent protest (targeted at the Catholic Church in Sokoto) by youths asking for the release of those arrested and the imposition of a 24-hour curfew on the state by the government.
The curfew was only lifted on Friday, some eight days after the killing. All forms of processions remain banned in Sokoto.