…vow never to go back
By Ola Ajayi
IBADANâ€”SURVIVORS of the Jos crisis that claimed hundreds of lives returned to Ibadan yesterday in the Oyo State-owned commercial buses looking emaciated and troubled.
Among them were three serving members of the National Youth Service Corps posted to the city around July last year.
When they alighted from the buses, they looked worn-out and ate hungrily the bread, soft drinks and water that the administration of Governor Adebayo Alao â€“Akala provided.
Many of the returnees who spoke with Vanguard vowed never to go back to the crisis-ridden city of Jos. Their families who came to welcome them were seen warning them never to allow their children to get married there.
According to the account of some of them, it was a land dispute that triggered the bloodshed. They recalled that the call to prayer by an Islamic cleric around 12 am incited the rioters who thronged the streets burning houses and killing people.
Akala promises relief materials
Governor Alao-Akala, while receiving the returnees promised adequate supply of relief materials, and wondered why an erstwhile peaceful city suddenly turned riotous. He told them that the crisis was a signal to them that it was time for them to return home.
Akala said, â€œas Nigerians, we are free to live anywhere and since this has happened, it is a signal to all of you that you should return to your homes. We will provide necessary health care, education and money for those who are interested in starting small-scale businesses. I will speak to all the local government chairmen to get you registeredâ€.
â€œWhen the crisis subsides, those of you who are interested should go and bring your belongings. What has happened is a proverb telling you to find your way back homeâ€, he stated.
An 80-year-old woman, Mrs. Mary Adewuyi who got to Jos in 1938 narrated that since she started living in the city of Jos, she had never witnessed any crisis of this sort.
She said, â€œI have witnessed about three riots, but this one was the worst so far. Many people were killed and property destroyed. All my shops and other things I used my whole life time to gather have been destroyedâ€.
They pleaded with the state government to make good its promises by rehabilitating them.