Thousands of rioters wielding sticks and broken bottles burned down a police station Thursday, protesting the police killing of a bus driver who apparently refused to pay a bribe equivalent to 14 cents, officials said.
Rioting engulfed the capital of Nigeria’s Benue state, Makurdi, on Wednesday night and continued Thursday, said Benue police chief Ibrahim Mohammed. The rioters burned down one police station on Wednesday and another on Thursday, he said.
Witnesses said the rioting ended by Thursday evening. Dozens of black-uniformed armed policemen patrolled streets littered with smashed-up, abandoned luxury cars.
Mohammed confirmed a policeman shot and killed a bus driver, but he would not give details.
A Benue students’ group said the driver was killed because he “lawfully refused to part with his hard-earned 20 naira.”
Dr. Daniel Ior, at Makurdi’s main hospital, said he had treated 60 people for minor injuries. Officials reported no serious injuries or deaths.
Local state radio called for calm Thursday evening. Benue’s union leader, Boogal Abuul, said the policeman who shot the driver was arrested and would face trial.
Nigeria’s new police chief, Sunday Ehindero, has been waging a campaign against police corruption. Ehindero was appointed this year after his predecessor was accused of pilfering millions of dollars.