By Fr. Peter Babangida Audu, National Secretary, JDP/Caritas Nigeria
The situation is Jos in getting better, but there are still some areas that very tense and with presence of military personnel. The dusk to dawn curfew is not lifted yet, but gradually relative calm has returned. Some banks started operation today, and life is returning to normal.
However the state of many refugees is a cause of concern. As of yesterday the camps were crowded with people in great need for basic items.
Reports from the local Caritas shows that there is about 18 camps, while government says 26.
The number is close to 30, 000 people made of children, women, sick, Muslims, Traditionalists and Christians. Some of the camps are strategic and so people could run to them for safety. Some have today left the camps and either returned to what is left of their homes or moved to the suburbs for a while. Most of those left in the camps are people who have nowhere to go to; their homes are burnt, no cloth, not food and are vulnerable to epidemic.
The Nigerian Bishops have called on all the dioceses in the country to organize fundraising.
Reports reaching me show that Jos city, the capital of Plateau State in Nigeria, was in flames last weekend. It all started on Friday. It started as a political conflict which resulted in full scale violence as a result of the Local Government elections which just ended in the state. It is said that some sections were angry because the candidate that won is not their choice.
What started as a political violence then turned religious. Many places of worship are destroyed, houses burned as well as business centres. Many lives are lost. The papers report about 430 persons who have already been given a mass burial. What this means is that the number could be more. Many are injured and now in the hospitals.
The provincial and formation houses of the Augustinian fathers were affected. Some of the students on formationshave been hospitalised. The Archdiocese of Jos and caritas Nigeria is now faced with another man made crisis. The number of IDPs is great. But no full statistics at the moment.
We will however ask for your great support at this time especially for the families that lost their dear ones, the injured, and IDPs.
Let us keep especially the Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Ignatius kaigama and the entire people of God in the Archdiocese and the people of Plateau State in our prayers for healing and peace.