The panic mood in Owerri on Monday resulted from a false alarm by elements within the Imo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Global Association of Concerned Imo Youths (GACIY) has alleged.
There was a rumored presence of unknown gunmen in Owerri and news that gunshots were heard at some parts of the capital spread like wildfire between the hours of 11 and 12.
This caused residents to scamper for safety. Some businesses shut down while most public schools released their pupils and students.
But GACIY in a statement on Tuesday said the alarm was false and blamed the opposition party for spreading it, an action, according to the group, put both the young and the old in harm’s way.
Part of the statement signed by the group’s convener, Collins Ughalaa, read:
“We resolutely condemn the false alarm raised by elements of Imo PDP which threw Owerri into a stampede, mass hysteria, and panic around midday Monday Oct 4, 2021.
“By spreading fake news that unknown gunmen had staged an attack in Owerri, the PDP put our innocent mothers, sons, and daughters in harm’s way as each one scampered for dear life. In the name of opposition, the PDP charged the atmosphere not minding the adverse effect on our people who are still healing from the trauma of recent security breaches in the state.
“We wonder why a party which, until recently, governed our dear state will openly display such ghoulish admiration for unknown gunmen, killers, and bandits. Obviously, this is politics taken too far.
“Although we are thankful that the Imo State Police Command and other security agencies promptly dispelled this rumour and reassured Imo people of security, we nonetheless urge the Police to fish out the masterminds and perpetrators of this new psychological warfare against our people.
“Further, we encourage our people to not be dismayed by the antics of our enemies, but continue to pray for enduring peace and prosperity in our dear state, Imo.”