There was tension in Kaduna on Sunday as Christian faithfuls observed the Sunday service amidst tight security.
Most residents stayed away from Sunday service following reports through text messages that churches in the state might be attacked on Sunday. The 24-hour curfew slammed on the state also ensured that many remained indoors even as the Kaduna branch of the Nigerian Medical Association complained that miscreants attacked its members and damaged their facilities during the crisis.
Also, there were indications that some state governments had sent luxury buses to evacuate their students from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, just as more security operatives were being deployed in Kaduna.
“Some states have come to pick their students from the school. But I can confirm to you that there is no problem on campus. There is even no problem in Zaria. What is happening in Kaduna has not affected us in Zaria,” said a source.
The Public Relations Officer, ABU, Mr. Bitrus Galmaka, said the development would definitely affect the institution’s academic calendar.
“We have seen some buses coming to pick students. The Dean of Student Affairs was even on air to clear that issue. All our campuses have been peaceful as the school authorities have taken adequate security measure,” he said.
Meanwhile, our correspondent learnt that five luxury buses, belonging to the Nigerian Army, headed for Kaduna from Abuja at about 10am to augment the number of security personel on the ground.
The Short Message Servcie that was in circulation in the city read, “We received Security Alert from the Coordinator of Operation Yaki that some churches in Kaduna metropolis, Barnawa, Sabon Tasha and Gonin Gora are likely to be attacked on June 24 by gunmen disguised as women using Improvised Explosive Device and AK47 and riding on motorbikes.”
However, the coordinator of Operation Yaki, Col. Maman Dangana (rtd), could not be reached to react to the text message as his cell phone indicated that it was switched off.
Some of the churches that were mentioned in the text messages were empty on Sunday while others were guarded by heavily armed soldiers and other security operatives.
At the Living Faith Church, Barnawa, heavily armed soldiers and policemen stopped and searched motorists while motorbike riders were asked to switch off their engine as they made their way cross the vicinity of the church. In churches like the Mountain of Fire Ministries, the Redeemed Christian Church of God as well as the Assemblies of God’s Church, all in the Barnawa, motorists were diverted to other routes.
Besides, there were checkpoints on the roads and highways while police helicopter hovered over the city on surveillance.
As a result of the relaxation of the curfew for four hours, resident trooped to the market to replenish their stock.
In a statement by the state NMA chairman and secretary, Dr Solomon Avidime and Dr Joseph Ovosi, respectively, the body condemned the attacks on three private clinics and some members across the state during the violence.
Mostly affected, according to the statement were Alheri Clinic, Jos Road by Bayajidda Street; the Covenant Hospital, Benin Street by Kano road; and an attack on Dr. Zainab Mohammed-Idris at the Kamanzo area of Kaduna South.
According to the NMA, Zainab lost her driver on her way to duty during the mob action by some irate youths.
The statement reads, “It should be noted that Doctors and other healthcare personnel are doing their utmost best at the risk of their lives to render emergency and basic healthcare services without any discrimination to religion, tribe, creed or political affiliation as enshrined in the Oath of Service, which we swore to uphold.
“Therefore, the NMA Kaduna State see this recent development as totally unwarranted and call for restraint on the attacks of innocent and law abiding citizens and also healthcare facilities and personnel who defy odds to help the sick and the wounded in the face of these crises.”