Opposition HQ torched in Nigeria’s Bauchi, 40 arrested

LAGOS (AA) – Tension is high in Nigeria’s northeastern Bauchi State after the headquarters of the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) was set ablaze on Friday by thugs suspected of working for a rival political party.

Police say at least 40 people have been arrested in connection with recent political violence.

Yesterday, thugs suspected of working for the APC disrupted a rally in Bauchi State attended by President Goodluck Jonathan and top administration officials.

“Persons numbering about four, wearing masks on their faces, set an APC campaign office ablaze. Forty suspects have been arrested and are helping investigate the violence, including yesterday’s,” police spokesman Mohamed Haruna said.

An AA correspondent in Bauchi city, capital of the eponymous state, reported that several businesses and some government offices had shut on Friday, while most people remained indoors.

Most of the city’s mosques were surrounded by security personnel as the Muslim faithful observed Friday prayers.

“We feel it [the recent violence] is a kind of reprisal, so people are really afraid to come out,” Adamu Aliyu, a shop owner, told AA.

Uche Njoku, a local businessman, said he had made plans to leave Bauchi ahead of upcoming general elections in February.

“The Thursday incident is a test of what to expect during and after the general election. That’s why I’m leaving in the coming days,” he told AA.

Early Friday morning, dozens of thugs loyal to different parties destroyed posters and campaign materials associated with their political rivals.

Boko Haram militants have been operating in Bauchi State since 2009 when the insurgency began.

Bauchi resident Musa Abdulahi, for one, fears further violence.

“The election has not been held yet and we’re already witnessing violence,” he said. “This means post-election violence will be bloody.”

Spokesmen for both parties were not available for comment.

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