Fear-stricken residents ran for safety in most parts of Jos Jos-North on Wednesday morning as youth made bonfires to protest the ban on commercial motorcycles.
Thick smoke covered most parts of the area as protesting youth clashed with security personnel over the ban.
The smoke covered most settlements and streets along Layin-Majema, Bauchi Road, Nasarawa Gwom, Masalachin Jummaa and Layin Sarki.
Lawal Mohammed, a resident of Layin Sarki area, said that the youth destroyed many tricycles to register their disapproval of the Plateau Government’s decision to replace motorcycles with tricycles.
The youth also destroyed new taxi cabs supplied by the Plateau Government to cushion the effect of the ban on commuters.
Trouble started when anti-riot policemen and other members of the Special Task Force, charged with maintaining peace on the Plateau, took positions at Zololo Junction to enforce the ban which took effect on Tuesday.
Angered by the action, the youth quickly mobilised to resist the security men, leading to disagreements as the protesters set up road blocks and made bonfires.
Consequently, the security men threw canisters of tear-gas and shot into the air to disperse the protesters.
Some witnesses claimed they saw dead bodies at Layin Sarki as well as some people allegedly injured in the confusion.
The Commissioner for Information in Plateau, Abraham Yiljap, said that the situation is being handled “effectively”.
“We are handling the situation. We shall enforce the ban (on commercial cyclists) in Jos north and all parts of the state. We shall overcome this initial resistance.
“The ban is for the popular good and we shall see it through for our corporate security,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Emmanuel Ayeni, said “the situation is firmly under control”.
“We started the enforcement yesterday (Tuesday); we have succeeded in other places and there is no reason we should not succeed everywhere.
“You remember we briefed you people [journalists] the other day and told you we shall enforce the ban. We are doing just that and no one can stop us. No one is above the law.”
On reports that some of the protesters were shot and injured, Mr. Ayeni said he had not received such report.
“I have not heard any reports of anyone being shot but we are heading to the scene and will brief you of any development,” he said.
The Plateau Government began the enforcement of the ban on commercial motorcycles on Tuesday, the second attempt in two years after the first attempt in July 2010 led to riots.
Most parts of the metropolis complied with the ban on Tuesday, except in some settlements in Jos North area where the commercial cyclists operated fully.
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