Protest over murder of Plateau Monarch turns bloody

•4 killed, 3 injured     •Govt declares 24-hr curfew     •IGP orders arrest of his killers

THE flaming passion over the assassination of a first-class traditional ruler in Plateau State, His Royal Highness Lazarus Agai, took a frightening dimension on Thursday, as four protesting youths were killed and three others sustained fatal injuries.

It will be recalled the traditional ruler of Bokkos, alongside his orderly, driver and son, were killed on Monday, while returning from his farm by some unknown gunmen, who opened fire at his convoy.

Nigerian Tribune learnt that the protest over the assassination which had been on since Tuesday, turned violence on Thursday, when security operatives were attempting to escape with  an  Ardo, a Fulani chief,  from the community.

This further aggravated the tense situation, as the irate youths became more aggressive and poised for confrontation with the security men.

In an attempt to take the Fulani chief out of the tense environment, the security men shot into the air to disperse the protesters and in the process gunned down four youths, while three others sustained injuries.

This development led to declaration of a dusk till dawn curfew in Bokkos by security operatives and the state government.

Spokesman of the ‘Operation Safe Haven’ deployed to restore law and order in the state, Captain Ikedechi Iweha, said a dusk till dawn curfew had been declared in Bokkos town following the unfortunate killing of the traditional ruler by unknown gunmen and the hijacking of the situation by some irate youths, thus disturbing the peace in the local government area.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police in charge of operations, Joshua Habila, has appealed to youths in the area not to take law into their hands and cooperate with the security agencies towards restoring normalcy to the community.

The DIG, who represented the Inspector-General of Police, told the people of Bokkos while on an assessment visit to the area that the police was making concerted efforts to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act.

According to him, the police had deployed more of intelligent personnel to the community, adding that investigation revealed that the perpetrators were still within the community.

The DIG also left behind the chopper which bought him to comb the area to fish out the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, hundreds of youths under the aegis of ‘Plateau Speak’ trooped out in their large number on Thursday, to protest the killing of the traditional ruler.

They carried placards with different inscriptions denouncing the Federal Government posture to the killings in the state, but were dispersed with teargas by security men deployed to the government house.

In a related development, the acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Ibrahim Idris, has directed the Deputy-Inspector-General of Police, Operations, Joshack Habila, to ensure the arrest of the killers of Chief Agai, the traditional ruler of Bokkos in Plateau.

The directive was contained in a statement issued by the Force spokesman, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Don Awunah, in Abuja, on Thursday.

Idris said those behind the gruesome murder of the monarch would be fished out in record time for prosecution.