7 May 2012

Nigeria: Potiskum Residents Protest Against State of Emergency

Damaturu — A large number of Potiskum residents this morning protested against the military presence in the town and the state of emergence imposed on it by the federal government since they have failed to secure lives and properties.

Armed gunmen had attacked the livestock market in Potiskum local government area of Yobe state on Wednesday evening last week in a raid that eyewitnesses said lasted over an hour without intervention from the military who were enforcing the state of emergency in the town. Over 40 people lost their lives, many others were wounded, an unknown number of livestock were killed and the market burnt to the ground as a result of the attack

The residents who gathered around 9:30am began airing their grievances by first going to the razed market. They held a brief congregational prayer and recited verses from the Qu'ran against the attackers.

There after, the crowd returned to the town and began to dismantle all army and police checkpoints they came across. The situation almost took a more violent turn when they got to the police station and the police had to fire tear gas canisters into the crowd and warning shots into the air to keep them at bay.

The protesters then proceeded to set up bonfires at strategic places around the town.

At the time of filing this report however, the JTF has been able to disperse most of the protesters although many youths are still seen on the streets.

Shops around the town and within the Potiskum main market are all closed.

Meanwhile, the Emir of Fika has summoned elders of the town for an emergency meeting geared towards placating the residents of the town.

Daily Trust also reports that JTF checkpoints outside the town are restricting access into the town for security reasons.

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