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Calm In Nigeria  Bauchi State After Five Days of Riots



Nigerian authorities say normalcy has returned to the northern state of Bauchi after days of sectarian violence. The clashes resulted in dozens of deaths and extensive property damage. Officials say heavily armed troops took over security in Bauchi City after the police were overpowered by rampaging youths. The Red Cross and Red Crescent societies report thousands have been displaced and many are seeking shelter in army barracks.

Peter Obi, the governor of the southeastern state of Anambra, recently toured the area. VOA English to Africa reporter Chinedu Offor asked his chief press secretary, Mike Udah, what his boss thinks of the frequent religious clashes in the country.

"He feels worried about the incessant cases of violence, in the northern parts of the country in particular, and he shares that feeling with his brother governors in the southeastern part of Nigeria, namely Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia. Incidentally, at the moment he happens to be the chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum, so all of them are worried and he is particularly worried that every now and then we would have cases of riots, most of the time with religious undertones."

Udah says Governor Obi's went to the areas affected by the riots to determine what has to be done to help those displaced by the fighting.

"Yes, in Jos, among other things, he visited southeastern people who are residents of that city to commiserate with them over the loss of lives and property which they suffered on account of the recent violence there and then to tell them that the governors of the southeast were deeply touched by their plight and would urge them to make sure that they participate fully in the various enquiries that have been instituted with a view to finding out cause of causes of the riots. He also pledged a donation on behalf of the southeast governors."

Udah says the administration, while not encouraging people to run away from the area of conflict, is prepared to assist those who decide to relocate to the state. "In Anambra State, Governor Obi is on top of the security. He is constantly meeting with security operatives, the State Security Service, the police, the army and, as I speak to you, there are no fears about reprisal attacks."

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