On Friday, inhabitants of the commercial hubs of Onitsha, Nnewi, and Awka in Anambra State were thrown into panic and uncertainty by gunmen accused of executing the one-week sit-at-home order proclaimed by the Simon Ekpa-led section of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
As a result of the development, traders in large city marketplaces closed their doors and fled for safety, fearful of being attacked by hoodlums.
According to reports, school officials permitted parents to rush their children home as they awaited further developments.
A merchant at the Onitsha Main Market who requested anonymity stated that they were told not to go to the market on Friday and were encouraged to stay at home, adding, “Nobody knows the reason and the direction it is coming from.”
“Some of us who came to the market this morning hung around and were monitoring the development, while some traders opened their shops partially,” the trader continued. However, the chaos began when we heard gunshots near the bridgehead. Traders and buyers in the market took off immediately.”
at addition, Tochukwu, a spare parts merchant at Nnewi’s spare parts market, stated, “There was news that gunmen were coming to attack Nnewi for refusing to obey the sit-at-home order.” The traders fled from their businesses without knowing why, but after some time, they chose to return.”
Similarly, shootings were heard near the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University campus in Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government Area, which resulted in the suspension of activities at the university campus, as many students ran into the school grounds for safety.
It was also learned that two people were allegedly shot at a petrol station in the border town of Ihiala Local Government Area, and that hoodlums carried out another attack in the neighboring Okija hamlet. Meanwhile, our correspondent was unable to quickly determine whether the two people wounded in Ihiala LGA survived the gunfire.
DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, the state police spokesperson, responded to the development, saying it was the work of miscreants who shared phony security alerts.
“The Anambra State Police Command today (Friday) observed with great dismay the mischievous act of persons sharing false security alerts and messages, as well as doctored old videos of security incidents, in order to cause tension and panic in the state,” he said.
“In light of the foregoing, the command shall apply relevant cyber laws to anyone found wanting in this regard.” Meanwhile, the command has stated that “Ndi Anambra’s trust in us to protect lives and property will not be taken for granted.”
He went on to say that the state’s police and other security agencies had increased patrols and boosted security surveillance. If necessary, he asked members of the public to call the command’s control room at 07039194332 or the state police public relations officer at 08039334002.
Similarly, Chikaodi Anara, the state Commissioner for Homeland Matters, stated that the claims were only rumours intended to spread panic in the state.
“As I speak to you, our men, in collaboration with the police, army, and other security operatives, have taken over everywhere, and the situation is under control,” he added. We have engaged some hoodlums who have been causing disturbance in the region in Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government region, and some arrests have been made, but we do not want to reveal any further details. Those reports should be dismissed by our people.”
Ebonyi suspects apprehended
In a similar event, police in Ebonyi State confirmed on Friday the arrest of 15 people accused of being engaged in the shooting by alleged IPOB members on Tuesday in the state’s new market and Ishieke districts.
From July 3 to July 10, the accused ordered the inhabitants to comply with a one-week sit-at-home order.
Mr Faleye Olayele, the state Commissioner of Police, informed journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital, that among the 15 suspects apprehended from their hideouts were two herbalists, Okwudili Otozi and Nnenna Ali.
“They attacked our area commander and burned our vehicle,” Olayele added. They have terrorized the state. They arrived in Ishieke on July 4th, firing haphazardly. I’d like to inform you that 15 of them, together with their herbalists, have been detained. We recovered many types of weaponry and charms.
Olayele stated that the accused were planning another attack on Friday when they were apprehended by police. Meanwhile, one of the herbalists revealed to reporters that he was coerced into joining the gang.
Enugu enforcers evicted
In Enugu State, the police command stated in a statement issued on Friday by its spokesperson, Daniel Ndukwe, that it had dislodged and killed hoodlums who were attempting to execute the sit-at-home order.
According to the police, officers from the Awkunanaw Division apprehended armed thieves who were attempting to steal a branded minivan from its driver at One-Day on Agbani Road in Enugu.
According to Ndukwe, the officers engaged the miscreants in a gunfight, compelling them to flee the car, where they collected rifles, ammunition, and other goods. However, the hoodlums escaped with varied degrees of gunshot wounds.
Ndukwe said a manhunt for the fleeing hoodlums was ongoing, and he urged medical facility owners and residents in the Awkunanaw, One-Day, Topland, and Achara Layout districts to immediately report anyone spotted with gunshot wounds to the police.