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Insecurity/fuel crisis: Mass exodus of Northerners from South

Published by Tribune on Mon, 09 Jan 2012


AHEAD of today's mass protest, panic has gripped northerners residing in the southern part of the country, as they move in their hundreds to their various states.The Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road, which serves as gateway between the South and the North, has been very busy in the last four days, as a result of movement of vehicles, from the South to the North and vice-versa, as a result of the present political situation in the country.In the last four days, articulated lorries, on a daily basis, convey the northerners and their property from the South to the North, as a result of the Boko Haram and fuel subsidy crises rocking the nation.Investigations revealed that most of them had left Imo, Anambra, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.Some of the Hausa people who spoke with Nigerian Tribune, said they decided to leave for their states to avoid any problem as a result of the crises.According to them, the Boko Haram issue was one of the main factors that placed their lives in danger in some parts of the South.They said that despite the fact that governors of most of these states assured them of safety, they had decided on their own not to take any risk.When our correspondent asked if they would still like to return to the South, most of them answered in the affirmative, but added that the present situation in the country should be resolved first.As a result of the tension, an Air Force helicopter now hovers over the state capital, Lokoja and the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road.Efforts by our correspondent to know the motive behind the presence of the Air Force helicopter was unsuccessful, as none of the security agents was ready to speak about it.On Friday last week, no fewer than 30 persons lost their lives in Okene, when an articulated lorry ran into a gully, leaving many others injured.Most occupants of the articulated lorry were northerners, who left Bayelsa State, heading for the North, probably as a result of political tension in the country.In another development, the Ebira Youth Congress (EYC) in Kogi State, has declared its total support for the NLC/TUC mass action.In a statement issued by the congress and signed by its president general Comrade Kadir Gomina, a copy of which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune on Sunday, it called on youths in the area to join the protest to compel government to reverse its decision.The group noted the high level of corruption in government at all levels and the senseless accumulation of wealth by the leaders to the detriment of the poor masses, saying the trend must be reversed.The EYC, which noted that the fuel subsidy removal was ill-timed, called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan to reverse his decision, which, it said, was capable of grounding the nation.Also speaking, an activist and former chairman of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Kogi State, Comrade Ibrahim Obansa, described the pro-subsidy removal protesters as a collection of paid charlatans and political jobbers who had no business with the Nigeria project.He said it was unfortunate that the administration of President Jonathan could degenerate into what could be regarded as the Abacha era by inducing some faceless people without credibility to support an unpopular policy of his government.He likened the action by the government to the failed Abacha two million-man match and said that this would also fail, because it was an action against the poor people of Nigeria.Obansa observed that the president wanted to rob Peter to pay Paul by planning to allocate subsidy proceeds to the same failed governors who he said had criminally mismanaged the resources of their various states.The former labour leader called on the president to take the path of honour by immediately reversing the fuel hike in the interest of the larger Nigerians he swore to protect.He condemned the utterance of the security operatives, who he said had not been able to fight crimes and armed robbery in Nigeria, threatening to deal with innocent people of the country who were only out to fight for their constitutional rights.'It is sad that the police, which have failed to fight crimes and protect innocent citizens against the robbers, are now threatening to deal with innocent people who are out to fight for their rights,' he said.Meanwhile, hundreds of Hausas fled most major towns in Delta State at the weekend, following Friday's reprisal attack on some Hausa Muslims in Sapele, in Sapele Local Government Area and Ekakpamre, in Ughelli South Local Government Area by some angry youths.Irate youths had, on Friday, descended on the Hausa community in Sapele and Ekakpamre, injuring about 50 of them to protest against the incessant killings of southerners in the northern part of the country and introduction of bombings to settle scores in Sapele.Nigerian Tribune investigations revealed that the Hausas had been leaving in droves since Friday night in other not to be caught in another reprisal in the oil-rich state.It was observed on Friday night through Sunday that most of the Hausas leaving the state boarded lorries that brought goods into Warri, Effurun, Sapele and Ughelli, apparently to escape the heat on them by the angry youth of the state.'We also observed that the Hausas are leaving the town in droves because of last Friday's attack by youths in Sapele, who ordered them to return to the North, just like the the Boko Haram sect ordered southerners to return home,' a source said.Meanwhile, hundreds of Hausas fled most major towns in Delta State at the weekend, following Friday's reprisal attack on some Hausa Muslims in Sapele, in Sapele Local Government Area and Ekakpamre, in Ughelli South Local Government Area by some angry youths.Irate youths had, on Friday, descended on the Hausa community in Sapele and Ekakpamre, injuring about 50 of them to protest against the incessant killings of southerners in the northern part of the country and introduction of bombings to settle scores in Sapele.Nigerian Tribune investigations revealed that the Hausas had been leaving in droves since Friday night in other not to be caught in another reprisal in the oil-rich state.It was observed on Friday night through Sunday that most of the Hausas leaving the state boarded lorries that brought goods into Warri, Effurun, Sapele and Ughelli, apparently to escape the heat on them by the angry youth of the state.'We also observed that the Hausas are leaving the town in droves because of last Friday's attack by youths in Sapele, who ordered them to return to the North, just like the the Boko Haram sect ordered southerners to return home,' a source said.
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