Gov's Press Secretary, Aburime Says Anambra is Calm

By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Anambra State Police Command has debunked the trending reports and messages alleging that there are shootings in different parts of the State on Friday.

This was in reaction to the viral speculations and security alert alleging that some suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) invaded Onitsha, Nnewi, Awkuzu, Ogidi, Ogbunike, and other parts of the State to enforce the continuation of the week-long sit-at-home which was said to have started on Monday.

Some of the alerts and messages read: “Heavy tension in Anambra State especially in Onitsha shooting gun everywhere this morning all the markets have closed down.”

“Some miscreants wanted to disturb the peace in Onitsha but the Army responded immediately. Everything is back to normal. Nnewi was a panic run. Nothing visible. The area you must not get close to is Nkpor-Umuoji road.”

“Unknown Gunmen in Igbariam Junction) Awkuzu Today Friday July 7, 2023.

“I just received notice that unknown gunmen just pursued all the bikes, keke, private cars and shuttle from Igbariam junction (Ibilibe Ogada junction) in Awkuzu, Anambra State.

“They moved from the junction and drove the Igbariam campus. All the shops around here just locked up and the student lodges locked their gates.

“Students within the campus are reportedly panicking and running helter skelter. Please place calls and alert your friends and relatives to stay safe.”

“Happening Now! Heavy gunshots at Nkpor, Ogidi, Awka and all parts of Anambra. I have just gone to bring my children from their school. Run for your life maka na Awusa abatago Awka.”

The residents also shared some videos to corroborate their messages. One of the videos shows people alleged to be students of Anambra State University, Igbariam, running and scampering for safety after hearing sounds of gunshots in the area.

The other was said to be video of traders at the Building Material Market, Ogbunike, running for their lives, while the thing chasing after them was not shown.

However, in his reaction to the alerts, Spokesperson of the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, debunked the alerts as fake, and said there was no cause for alarm. He added that the police and other security forces have intensified patrols, improved security dominance and surveillance in the state.

DSP Ikenga, in the statement issued to this reporter, Izunna Okafor, also gave out some phone numbers people should call in case of any security emergency in their area, even as he also debunked the viral videos as old and doctored.

The statement read: “The Anambra State Police Command today 7/7/2023 has observed with great dismay, the mischievous act of persons sharing false security alerts/messages, and doctored old videos of security incidents to cause tension/panic in the State. Given the above the Command shall invoke relevant cyber laws on persons found wanting in this regard.

“Meanwhile, the Command has noted that the confidence reposed on us by Ndi Anambra in the protection of lives and properties shall not be taken for granted. The Police with other security forces have intensified patrols, improved security dominance and surveillance in the state. In the event of any request for security service, members of the public are advised to call the following phone numbers: the Command Control Room Number at 07039194332 or the Public Relations Officer PRO at 08039334002. The 'npf rescue me app' is also available for free download on both Android and Apple IOS, for Android and iPhone users respectively.”

This reporter, Izunna Okafor, who toured some parts of Awka for an on-the-spot assessment of security situation and movement, observed that there were free vehicular and human movements.

Although, he observed that some guardians have retrieved their children from schools before the dismissal time. Some shops at Eke Awka Market were also close, while one of the traders said she closed hers and ran simply because she saw people closing their shops and running, without actual knowing or seeing the why they were running or what they were running from. She also said she did not hear any gunshot at the market or see anyone pursuing anyone, adding that she only closed because she saw others closing theirs.

Meanwhile, as these trend, speculations abound that the State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, is out of the State, and currently cruising in London.

A concerned resident of the State who pleaded anonymity revealed this to this reporter, and wondered why the Governor should guarantee the people of security without being in the state himself to ensure it.

When contacted by this reporter, Izunna Okafor, the Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Christian Aburime, said the physical presence of the Governor was insignificant to what happened, as he had already put adequate measures in place to ensure total security of lives and property the State.

“So, even if at all there were hooligans, was it the governor that will go and confront them one-on-one? There are people he has empowered to do that. So the issue of the Governor being around or not being around is not what we should be talking about,” he said in a telephone interview.

On the security situation of the State and the alleged shooting in different parts of the State on Friday, Mr. Aburime said nothing actually happened.

He said: “Everything that happened is more like a rumour. Nothing actually happened today. But at the end of the day, when the security operatives came out, they discovered that everything was actually a hoax.

“People saw some members of the Anambra Vigilante Group who were wearing mask, and who were attending to their broken-down vehicle; and they (the people) started panicking and running in Onitsha, while others joined.

“That panic also gave rise to other people running in other parts of the State. From the security report that we have, everything was a rumour. Nobody can actually pinpoint and say it was so so people that came to attack, because they were reacting based on false rumour.

“But, as I speak to you now, the State is calm and peaceful. And people are going about their normal businesses in Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka, Ekwulobia, and other parts of the State. Anambra is safe. And, remember, Anambra has never, and will never obey any sit-at-home order from the non-state actors; and not even the one from the so-called Simon Ekpa.

“So, the State is very peaceful and calm, and, Mr. Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo and the security forces are on top of the situation. So we assure the residents of the State that there is no need for them to panic. There's no cause for alarm.”