Anambra State Command of the Nigeria Police Force has said that the heavy tension that enveloped Nnewi and Onitsha commercial areas of Anambra State on Friday was caused by false alarm.
According to Anambra State government owned media, ABS, the Police Command said the Nigeria Police would invoke the Cybercrime laws against persons spreading false security alerts to scare people in the state.
The State Government in a statement claimed that the tension and panic in the state were caused by the appearance of masked Anambra State Vigilante Group, AVG.
It would be recalled that there was high level of tension in Nnewi and Onitsha commercial areas of Anambra State on Friday morning following information that group of Unknown Gunmen have invaded the two major commercial cities to enforce the seven days sit-at-home order declared by a faction of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, led by Simon Ekpa.
The tension as it was gathered, started in Nnewi, wherein, most traders who have opened shops early in the morning, hurriedly locked up their shops and ran home for safety. Schools hurriedly closed as school children were seen running home.
Few hours after, traders in Onitsha began to run for safety with claim that group of Unknown Gunmen came into the market to scare them with a warning notice.
Travelers along Onitsha-Owerri road aborted their journey at Oba Community temporarily and scampered into the bush for safety until Friday evening when normalcy returned to the state.
The police in the state described the tension as fake security alerts and warned those behind the false information people to stop spreading false security alerts.
The Police stated this in a statement issued by the command on July 7 and signed by its Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga as reported by the Anambra State government owned media, ABS on Friday evening.
The Police statement reads in quote: “the Anambra State Police Command today July 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 and panic in the State.
“Given the above, the Command shall invoke relevant cyber laws on persons found wanting in this regard’’.
Anambra State Police Command added that it would not take for granted the confidence the people has vested on them for the protection of lives and properties, stressing that it has teamed up with other security agencies to bring security to the people.
“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 on 07039194332 or the Public Relations Officer, PRO on 08039334002.
“The ‘npf rescue me app’ is also available for free download on both Android and Apple IOS, for Android and iPhone users respectively.
In another development, the State Government under the leadership of Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo said the tension and panic were caused by the appearance of some masked Anambra State Vigilante Group, AVG members inside Sienna buses.
The state government in a statement signed by Paul Nwosu, the state Commissioner for Information on Friday and made available by ABS, said reports reaching the Government “is that the appearance of armed masked men in Sienna buses this morning in parts of Onitsha caused some panic among the people.
“Truth of the matter is that those they saw were men of the Anambra State Vigilante Group (AVG).
“Following the mild tension and anxiety among the people, Government directed the Department of State Security (DSS) and the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha to join in strengthening the patrol.
“Normalcy has since returned to the commercial city. Offices and shops have since reopened.
“However, a few miscreants that tried to test the resolve of Government to protect lives and property of its people have been arrested by our security agents and they’re presently providing useful information.
“Reports from Local Government Chairmen in other parts of the State reveal that people are going about their normal businesses while their local AVGs and Joint Task Forces are on red alert.
“Anambra State Government is therefore calling on Ndi Anambra to go about their legitimate businesses without fear.
“The attached videos and photos attest to the normalcy in Onitsha and other parts of the State. There is no cause for alarm”.