In Pandogari, Rafi local government area of Niger state, a mob of angry Muslim youths killed a 24-year old trader named Methodus Chimaije Emmanuel on Sunday over an alleged blasphemous post which he made against Prophet Muhammad on social media.
An attempt by the community head to intervene and calm the youths proved unsuccessful. He called them to his Palace and advised them to let peace reign but the pleas fell on deaf ears. They murdered Emmanuel nonetheless.
In addition to the murder of Emmanuel, the mob killed three others, including an official of the NSCDC; destroyed several properties; burnt down a church, a house and a shop. The youths who were supposedly angry over a wrong done against their religion, also managed to loot 25 shops.
As a result, the army has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the town, according to a statement by Major NC Agwu, Assistant Director, Army Public Relations.
”Early Monday, the rioters embarked on further violence, looting shops and blocking the Lagos-Kaduna Road, a major artery connecting the northern and southern parts of the country. Again, troops in conjunction with the personnel of Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC) took control of the situation to forestall escalation of violence and any threat to the peace in the town,” the statement by Agwu said.
The police on its part said it has arrested 32 people allegedly involved in the murder and destruction of property.
The military said in its statement that ”As part of the measures to de-escalate tension and ensure a lasting peace in the town, the military is working with the Local Government Council authorities and community leaders, including the Kagara Emirate Council to pacify all aggrieved parties and build on the peace so far established.
”However, while the military will continue with its current non-violent approach to maintaining peace in Pandogari town, it will not take kindly to any unscrupulous element who would attempt to visit violence on innocent and law abiding Nigerians.
”The general public is therefore warned to abide by the conditions of the curfew so far emplaced. All law abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their legitimate businesses without any fear of intimidation.
”They are assured that the security forces will remain fully present to guarantee their safety and security across the length and breadth of the town, within their rules of engagement.”