Soldiers Patrol Nigerian City Following Clash

By Gilbert da Costa
14 October 2006

Hundreds of soldiers are on the streets of the central Nigerian city of Jos following clashes Friday between riot police and demonstrators protesting the attempted impeachment of the state governor. Witnesses said at least one person was killed.


Jos, a city with a diverse mix of ethnic groups is one of Nigeria's most volatile.

A Jos resident, Jude Owuamanam, told VOA that troops have been deployed to strategic points in the city to forestall fresh clashes.

"The soldiers are out in long convoys patrolling the streets of Jos," he said.  "They are also being complemented by regular police at major checkpoints, at entry points into Jos. When people see the security men in convoys there is some apprehension."

Police fired into a crowd of supporters of the state governor Friday. Six lawmakers in the custody of federal authorities on corruption charges, were escorted by armed police guards to Jos Friday, to impeach the governor for alleged corruption.

The governor's supporters have accused the federal government of direct responsibility for the impeachment attempt. 

Governor Dariye, who addressed his supporters, asked them to remain calm and avoid any violent conduct.

"Above all, I appeal for calm," he said.  "I appeal for calm. Two wrongs do not make a right. Let us go back to our homes. I am going to address the state, and I believe appropriate measures will be taken."

Plateau is one of a number of states in Africa's leading oil producing country, where a battle of political supremacy between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar is being played out, ahead of crucial polls next year.

Mr. Dariye has dismissed the impeachment threat as a joke, citing the constitution, which says that at least two-thirds of the 24-member state assembly must vote in favor to begin the process.

President Obasanjo imposed emergency rule in Plateau state in 2004, and suspended the governor, following clashes between Christians and Muslims, which resulted in the death of several hundred.