Residents in the capital city of Ebonyi state, Abakiliki, fearfully left their businesses, shops and took off the streets to wherever they could find shelter in the early hours of Monday, December the 12th, 2022.
This chaos took place as soon as the residents heard emergency rumours that gunmen have entered into Abakiliki to implement the five-day sit-at-home mandate.
The mandate, denied by the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), was reportedly issued by Simon Ekpa, the stand-in leader of the break-away group IPOB who is based in Finland.
According to an eyewitness, the gunmen entered the Ahia-ohuru market in Abakiliki and started firing at random to scare people away. The eyewitness also stated how the four gunmen on two motorcycles and carrying guns told a woman opening her shop to lockup the place, and proceeded to set the shop on fire when she asked what wrong she had done.
Two other anonymous sources who are seeking refuge in places outside their homes confirmed the catastrophe along the government house and in other areas around the towns of Abakiliki.
However, the Police spokesperson Chris Anyanwu denied the claims as rumours, saying that Ebonyi is in peaceful. He also said that he will provide updates should the police confirm any of the claims as fact.
A corresponding statement was also made by Aliyu Garba, the Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi state. The Police Commissioner asked all to remain calm as he has sent out hundreds of policemen to patrol the city and ensure security.
While Stanley Okoro Emegha, the Special Security Consultant of Enugu State confirmed the incident with the woman whose shop was burnt down at Ahia-ofuru market, he claimed in his statement that the unknown gunmen were only armed hoodlums who made a scene.
According to him, they would soon be tracked down by the Police, Ebubeagu, and other security services deployed to rectify the situation. He even stated that all government functions planned for that day would continue unhindered because the state is calm and every situation is under control.