Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Jos after fears of a fracas between Hausa and Igbo communities in the city on Thursday evening.
He has also ordered the deployment of security personnel across the city to secure the peace.
Emmanuel Nanle Samuel, the director of press and public affairs, said in a statement that the governor was dismayed at the tension that was building up.
Tension started brewing following rumours of an impending attack on Igbo residents because of the reported assault on Hausa in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, earlier on Thursday.
Igbo traders in Jos closed their shops earlier than usual out of fear of reprisal.
Towards Thursday evening, there was pandemonium on Ahmadu Bello Way and Rwang Pam area as a result of rumours that the reprisal had started.
Lalong will convene a meeting of Hausa and Igbo leaders on Thursday night, TheCable understands.
Samuel said the governor was shocked and dismayed “at the sudden build up of tension in Jos Metropolis on account of the conduct of some disgruntled elements, who have decided to throw the metropolis into confusion on account of their negative reaction to the agitations of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East.
“Consequently, the governor has directed an immediate imposition of curfew from dusk to dawn (6pm – 6am) within the Greater Jos-Bukuru Metropolis, until further notice. The deployment of security personnel to all flash points within the metropolis has also been directed to ensure compliance with the curfew order and to avert any further breach of law and order.
“The governor wishes to assure all citizens that the security and welfare as the primary concern of government is assured by the Rescue Administration. He is therefore enjoining all citizens to go about their business with the assurance that their safety is guaranteed. He further appealed to all religious and community leaders, neighbourhood vigilantes as well as all law abiding citizens to ensure nobody is allowed to take advantage of this unfortunate situation to engage in criminality.
“The governor wishes to restate that Plateau state remains home to all citizens of Nigeria irrespective of religion, ethnic extraction or political persuasion. He therefore enjoins all peace loving citizens to ensure that nothing is allowed to upset the hard earned peace in the state.”
Jos has been a centre of violent ethnic and religious clashes in the past, but fracas between Hausa and Igbo is rare.
A coalition of northern youth recently issued an October 1 deadline for Igbo to leave the north and even though the ultimatum has been withdrawn, there are still fears of a breakout of violence.