Of Aloysius AttahOnitsha
Some markets and schools in Onitsha and its surroundings closed abruptly yesterday afternoon, following viral reports of rumors of attacks by gunmen in the Ugwuagba Obosi and Ogbaru areas of the state.
Many schools in the Awada area closed around noon as parents ran to the school premises to look for their children as rumors gained ground that the attackers were moving into Awada from the axis of Obsi.
At Blessed Iwene Tansi Catholic Church, Awada Kindergarten and primary school children ran in different directions. The pastor of the church, the Rev. Augustine Oburota, recounted the situation thus:
“There was chaos in schools in Awada today, 31 May 2022. It could be compared to the fear of Madame Koi-koi many years ago in Enugu. Our students from St. Infant Jesus Parish, Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish Awada suddenly started running around in a mess. When I asked, many were in shock and could only cry, until a teacher said it was fear of unknown gunmen. Many students rushed into the House of the Fathers.
“It was indeed the noise from other schools in the area, with parents running to collect their children and wards, that caused fear in our own school. Later, some children said they were armed robbers. I had to take action to calm them down. I tried all kinds of ways to bring back their smiles. Some were so scared they could only cry and yearn to be carried. No one prays for a dangerous society. And children are the biggest victims,” he said.
Onitsha electronics market and some sections of Ochanja market have also closed down, following the scare.
The Daily Sun understood that there was a pandemonium in parts of the Amiyi community in the Ogbaru region, as soldiers in full military gear swooped down on the unknown gunmen’s camp located in the area.
A local resident told the Daily Sun that there were sporadic gunfire which lasted for hours, forcing many people into hiding in the area.
At the time of writing, there was no further information indicating whether any arrests had been made in the area or reports of casualties on either side.
When contacted, state police public relations officer Ikenga Tochi said he had not been informed of any incidents in the area.