Tension in Owerri, Aba as hoodlums chase pupils, traders out of schools, markets

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•Residents scamper for safety

Army launches ‘Exercise Golden Dawn’ in Anambra to curb insecurity

Anambra CP visits Igbokwe’s house, others, urges security to resist further attacks

By Vincent Ujumadu, Chidi Nkwopara,  Ugochukwu Alaribe, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Chinonso Alozie & Emmanuel Iheaka

There was pandemonium in Owerri, Imo State capital, and Aba, Abia State, yesterday, following reported gunshots across the cities.

As unconfirmed reports filtered in that there were gunshots at some areas of Imo State capital, residents of the city scampered simultaneously for safety.

While vehicles made u-turns, markets, business outfits, offices came to abrupt close, even as schools shut down, dismissing pupils and students.

Some pupils were left stranded in schools as their parents and guardians could not find means of going to pick them.

While some reported of gunshots at Akwakuma area of Imo State, some others said they heard the shots at Nekede axis.

The state capital within minutes became a ghost town, as the roads were deserted.

Residents of Owerri had resumed Monday economic activities a fortnight ago after staying away from business on Mondays for six consecutive weeks, owing to the earlier sit-at-home ordered by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Michael Abattam said there were no gunshots in the city.

“People are just creating unnecessary panic. What is chasing them, nobody sees it. It’s just fake news”, he stated.

Similarly in Abia, hoodlums who allegedly enforced the sit at home order in Aba, the commercial city of Abia State, yesterday, chased away pupils and students from schools.

The  hoodlums who wore an all black attire, moved round Opobo Junction, Ogbor Hill axis and forced shop owners who opened for business  to close.

Army launches ‘ Exercise Golden Dawn’

As these were  happening in Imo and Abia, the Nigerian Army in its determination  to restore security in Anambra State, following the threatening insecurity situation in the state, which has led to loss of lives yesterday launched Exercise Golden Dawn. The 302 Artillery Regiment General Support launched the exercise to provide security in the state.

Exercise Golden Dawn, according the Commander 302 Artillery Regiment (General Support) Col. Abdulkarim .B. Usman, in the welcome address he presented at the flag off ceremony at Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government Area, “is  an avenue to combat insecurity in Anambra State and foster inter agency cooperation. It is also a routine training exercise in various geo-political zones of Nigeria and South Eastern States”.

He said that the rise of  insecurity across the country has made it imperative that the Nigerian Army comes to the aid of civil authority, adding that the exercise which started on October 4 will end December 23rd, 2021. The exercise  is meant to practice command and staff of  combat arms and services in planning and conduct of Military Operation Other Than War, MOOTW, to confront security challenges within their area of responsibility in conjunction with other security agencies.

“The military will use the golden opportunity in conjunction with other security agencies to curb the existing security threats in Anambra State. The threats range from secessionist agitations, by the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB; the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and Eastern Security Network, ESN; to banditry, kidnapping, cultists activities, land disputes, communal clashes, chieftaincy issues, assassinations and youths restiveness. To curb these countless security challenges, a robust posture is what the unit has always maintained”

Col. Usman thanked the troops and other security agencies for the tremendous effort in keeping Anambra State safe and secure, adding that more needs to be done to combat the  security threats in the state.

He further disclosed that the Regiment under the leadership of Major General T. A Lagbaja is currently undergoing unprecedented changes. The Regiment and indeed 82 Division have continued to benefit immensely from the Chief of Army Staff, COAS transformational drive.

“Remarkable improvements have been recorded, particularly in the refurbishment of Armoured Fighting Vehicles, procurement of new platforms, upgrading of training facilities and construction of new accommodation for officers and soldiers among others.

“These transformational efforts have greatly enhanced the welfare and operational capabilities of the troops. It is therefore my fervent hope that the exercise will record successes.”

He however urged all the sister security agencies and the people of Igbariam community to participate and cooperate with them for the success of the Exercise.

The Caretaker President General of Igbariam Community Chief Anthony Obueh, who led elders of Igbariam community to the flag off ceremony, said that the presence of the military in the community has given them confidence that there will be absolute peace and security in the state, the community and its environs. He promised that they will give the military all the cooperation they need to make the exercise a success.

Anambra CP visits Igbokwe’s house

In a related development, Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tony Olofu, yesterday, led a team of senior police officers and tactical squads on what he called a confidence boosting patrol within the state after Sunday’s attacks in the industrial town of Nnewi.

While there, the CP visited the home of a chieftain of All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe whose country home was set ablaze on Sunday by gunmen, as well as the office of the Directorate of State Services, DSS, which was burnt.

The team also visited the residence of former Petroleum Minister, Dr. Chu Okongwu and the Police Area Command in the town.

According to the CP, the visit was to boost the morale of police personnel as part  of efforts to tackle the new trends of security breaches in the state.

While condemning the recurring public disturbance and attacks on government facilities and private residences in the state, Olofu charged the police personnel to be firm and resolute in resisting and taking the battle to the doorstep of the perpetrators of the dastardly acts to bring them to book..

He reassured the people of Anambra State of the command’s avowed commitment to do everything within its powers to maintain public security and safety in the state.

He enjoined the people to remain vigilant and law abiding and assist the police and other security agencies with timely and credible crime prevention information.

Vanguard News Nigeria