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Agitation

Sit-at-home: Stampede in Owerri over IPOB enforcement order

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Nnenna Ogbonnaya |

Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Monday erupted in confusion over the alleged violation of the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra.

The pandemonium, which caught residents of the city unawares around 10am, led to the hasty closure of markets, shops, schools, banks, hotels and other institutions.

Expectedly, vehicles, commercial motorcyclists and barrow pushers quickly disappeared from the roads and streets just as roadside traders also took to their heels.

Fear-stricken parents and guardians rushed to schools to retrieve their children and wards despite heavy security put in place by the management of the school.

Our correspondent, who monitored the situation, reports of the presence of soldiers and other security agents well positioned on the roads.

As at the time of filing this report, apart from the IPOB alleged connection, there were allegations by some people against some overzealous officials of the state environmental transformation commission.

According to this school of thought, the commission had embarked on aggressive demolition of some structures on the Onitsha road, World Bank, and Control Post which did not go down well with owners of the demolished facilities.

The fracas that ensued resulted in a stampede, which spread to other parts of the city, thereby provoking confusion and tension.

Ignorantly, since the incident took place on Monday, it was misconstrued by the larger populace that it was the handwork of IPOB over disregard to the usual Monday sit-at-home order.

When our correspondnet reached out to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Emelumba, for his reaction, he did not pick his calls. However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Michael Abattajm, blamed it on mere rumour and hallucination by those intent to course confusion in the state by crying wolf where there was none.

Abattam, a Chief Superintendent of Police, advised members of the public not to panic and go about their normal businesses. 

He assured them that adequate security measures had been put in place to secure lives and properties.

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