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Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 14:34 GMT
Nigerians 'riot' after murder arrests
Bola Ige
It is still not known why Ige was shot dead
Hundreds of youths have rioted in south-western Nigerian after several arrests were made in connection with the assassination of Justice Minister Bola Ige, according to reports.

Map of Nigeria

Reuters news agency says that armed rioters barricaded streets with bonfires in Ife town in Osun state on Thursday.

Ife has been tense since Mr Ige was shot dead in his home in the nearby city of Ibadan on 23 December.

Many residents of the university town had accused Mr Ige of backing a rival faction locked in a power struggle in Osun with a leading Ife-born politician.

The latest violence flared after newspapers reported that police had arrested a university lecturer and two others believed to be members of the gang that attacked Mr Ige.

Transmitter attacked

There were no reports of serious casualties.

But the rioters also forced their way into the transmitting station of the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, damaging transmitters and forcing the station off the air.

Grieving relatives
Ige's family will bury him on Friday

"They attacked, no one was killed, but they forced us off the air," one employee told Reuters.

The youths had earlier told businesses not to open their doors.

Mr Ige is to be buried in his native town of Esa-Oke, near Ife, on Friday.

Aside from local political disputes, the 71-year-old lawyer could have made enemies elsewhere.

Reward

As justice minister, he strongly criticised the introduction of Sharia law in 13 states in northern Nigeria.

There is also speculation that his job of fighting drug traffickers may have provided the motive for his murder.

Police have offered a 500,000 Naira reward - about 15 times the average annual income in the country - for information leading to the killers.

On Monday police released the name of a man they were seeking in connection with the murder.

A statement said that Damola Elubode Adebayo, alias Frayo, had gone "underground since the heinous crime was committed".

See also:

24 Dec 01 | Africa
Troops deployed in Nigeria
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